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Thursday, 4 May, 2000, 09:44 GMT 10:44 UK
Street star Jim to leave
Charlie Lawson
Dramatic exit - Coronation Street's Jim McDonald
Coronation Street actor Charlie Lawson is to leave the popular soap opera after 11 years.

Lawson, who plays fiery Irishman Jim McDonald, was told by the show's producers his contract would not be renewed.

The 40-year-old star had spent the day working at the Granada studios in Manchester, where Coronation Street is filmed.

Jane Danson
Pastures new: Coronation Street actress Jane Danson

He will stay with the long-running ITV soap until October, when his character is set for a nail-biting exit.

Street spokeswoman Zoe Cartel confirmed: "Charlie will be leaving at the end of his current contract.

"His character will not be killed off. The door's being left open for him to return, but the storyline he's going to be involved in will be one of the most dramatic of the year."

Jim McDonald, who ends most sentences with the phrase "so it is", is no stranger to controversy. During his time in Weatherfield he has beaten up his wife, bedded his son's ex-girlfriend and been left temporarily paralysed from a fall.

His current storyline has seen him move his debt-ridden girlfriend Gwen (Annie Hulley) into his house, unaware that she is taking advantage of him.

Many of Jim's most memorable moments on the Street have happened when he is drunk, and Lawson has admitted having had a drink problem himself in the past.

He once confessed: "I performed some of my most famous scenes whilst blind drunk" and said his heavy drinking meant he was unable to remember his first four years on the show.

Natural progression

But Cartel insisted that, contrary to press reports, he was not angry at the decision to write him out.

"He was absolutely fine about it, and I think he feels it's a natural progression anyway.

Charlie Lawson
Groomed for future success - actor Charlie Lawson

"He's being considered for other television dramas. He's such a talented actor that other people want to work with him," she added.

Coronation Street has already been hit by a number of big names who want to leave the soap to pursue other avenues.

They include Jane Danson (Leanne Tilsley), Rebecca Sarker (Nita Desai), Ian Mercer (Gary Mallett) and Paul Fox (Mark Baldwin).

Martin Hancock (Spider Nugent) and Naomi Radcliffe (Alison Webster) have been told their contracts are not being renewed.

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See also:

27 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Police warn Street 'stalker'
15 Apr 00 | Entertainment
Mayoress honour for Corrie star
01 Mar 00 | Entertainment
Street drama wins praise
11 Feb 00 | Entertainment
Corrie ratings are streets ahead
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Street star Danson leaves
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