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Coronation Street's Mavis Wilton is to quit after 26 years on the top ITV soap.

Actress Thelma Barlow has told Street's bosses she is ditching her pounds 100,000- a-year contract in September.

Her departure is another blow to Street bosses and fans.

It follows the defection of a host of other stars since producer Brian Park vowed to revitalise the Street in a bid to win the ratings war with EastEnders.

Divorcee Thelma was furious when her screen husband Derek - actor Peter Baldwin - was killed off last month.

She said last night: "I have been considering leaving for the past two years but now I think the time is right to move on.

"I've been in the show for almost 26 years and have loved every minute of it.

"But now I want to do other things."

Thelma is very close to Peter and felt the decision to get rid of his character wrecked one of the Street's great comedy partnerships.

Peter, 63, who was stunned by his own axing from the soap, said: "I'm not surprised she is going, it has been in the air.

"Derek's death took away a part of her.

"She was as shocked as I was, the decision to kill him off was totally unexpected."

Granada executives tried to talk her out of going but Thelma stuck to her guns.

But the star has asked them not to kill Mavis off just yet in case she decides on a comeback.
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Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Oliver, Ted
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 23, 1997
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