Les Dennis is to depart the cobbles of Coronation Street later this year in what ITV has described as “hugely dramatic” storyline.

The actor and comedian joined the soap in 2014 as charming house burglar, Michael Rodwell, who then began a relationship with Gail Platt (Helen Worth).

However, his subsequent marriage to Gail hit the rocks within hours of the nuptials when he discovered Andy (Oliver Farnworth) had been masquerading as his son, Gavin.

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He has though become a favourite with viewers and a regular in the Rovers Return – but said it was time to move on to new projects.

“As a lifelong fan of the show, playing Michael Rodwell in Coronation Street has been a dream come true,” he said. “Becoming part of the ITV Coronation Street family has been a wonderful experience and my decision to leave was a hard one.

“Earlier this year, thanks to Coronation Street giving me a sabbatical from the show, I was thrilled to be able to produce and star in a sell-out production of Alan Bleasdale’s Down the Dock Road at The Royal Court Liverpool. I always knew that the time would come when I would want the freedom to do more projects, and now feels like the right time.

“The talented team of writers and producers have come up with a very dramatic exit for Michael on the show which will be exciting to film. I’ll treasure the two and a half years I have been part of such an iconic show and move on with very fond memories, so many lovely friends and colleagues and an ambition achieved.”

Coronation Street producer, Kate Oates, said of Dennis: “He’s brought warmth, wit and integrity to the character of Michael. We have worked on giving him a great story to ensure a fantastic and dramatic end to his time on the Street. I can’t wait to see it unfold!”