Soap star whose life was saved by Blackpool medics will not be leaving Corrie, says producer

Corrie star Malcolm Hebden
Corrie star Malcolm Hebden
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Coronation Street bosses have reassured fans that Norris is not leaving the cobbles, following actor Malcolm Hebden's absence.

Producer Iain MacLeod said they were "hoping" his character would rejoin the cast after it was announced a new family had bought number three from the resident.

Hebden's character Norris Cole has been away from the soap since 2017, when the actor needed surgery at Blackpool Victoria Hospital following a heart attack.

Last year Malcolm thanked staff at the Vic for saving his life.

On a visit to meet nurses and doctors, the Burnley-born actor said: "Most of December 2017, I was in an induced coma, in the care of these brilliant, wonderful people at the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU), he told the Gazette, while attending a celebration day to mark the NHS’s 70th anniversary today, having made a 'remarkable recovery'. “Fortunately I didn’t realise how bad it was; I was dying. “The cardiac team, headed by Mr Zacharias, simply saved my life."

The 78-year-old had visited his GP with a chest infection and after listening to his heart he was called later that same day to be told an emergency ambulance was on its way to collect him and take him to the Royal Blackburn Hospital, the nearest hospital to his home in the Ribble Valley.

MacLeod said: "Norris is not leaving the show, we just thought that given the circumstances that we find ourselves in, it made sense to put a family in number three.

"It's certainly not the end of Norris.

"Emily I'm in talks with fairly regularly, or we are as production, with Eileen, but at the moment there's no plans for her to return. But again, the door is certainly not closed there.

"Definitely in Norris's case the hope on my part, and I think on his, is that we can bring him back in for good."

Coronation Street explained The Kabin boss's absence by sending him to join friend Emily Bishop in Peru after producers wrote her out of the soap when actress Eileen Derbyshire took an extended break.