Corrie's Malcolm Hebden bids farewell to Norris Cole as he retires

Coronation Street’s Malcolm Hebden, 81, bids a fond farewell to busybody character Norris Cole as he quietly retires after 27 years

Coronation Street star Malcolm Hebden has bid a fond farewell to his character Norris Cole as he announced his retirement after 27 years.

The actor, 81, who first joined the ITV soap in 1994, has only made a handful of appearances on the cobbles since recovering from a near-fatal heart attack in 2017. 

But in a move that will surely devastate fans, the star revealed he was stepping away from the show for good, meaning his much-loved busybody character will no longer be seen in Weatherfield.

Goodbye Norris: Coronation Street star Malcolm Hebden has bid a fond farewell to his character Norris Cole as he announced his retirement after 27 years

Speaking to The Sun, Malcolm said: ‘I absolutely adored playing Norris and I was pleased to be able to return briefly after my operation.

‘It took a great deal of courage to make the decision to retire. But I had come to realise that although the mind was willing the body was not so much.’

Malcolm made his choice last summer, with a Coronation Street spokesperson stating: ‘Malcolm made the decision to retire and leave the show during the summer of 2020 for health reasons.’ 

Soap producer Iain McLeod described Malcolm’s exit from the soap as ‘desperately sad’ before going on to praise the actor for his contribution to the soap.

Departure: The actor, 81, who first joined the ITV soap in 1994, has only made a handful of appearances on the cobbles since recovering from a near-fatal heart attack in 2017

He said: ‘Norris became an all-time great character, whose lemon-lipped barbs will be remembered forever.

‘I know a nation of soap lovers will be desperately sad to think they’ve seen the last of Norris but in his brilliant double-acts with Emily, Rita and more recently Mary, Malcolm has left us with countless fantastic memories in the show.’

He went on to wish Malcolm all the best, adding that the place ‘won’t be the same without him.’ 

Malcolm returned to the cobbles for a brief stint last year when he moved into the same care home as Ken Barlow and his then-partner Claudia Cosby.

Moving on: In a move that will surely devastate fans, the star revealed he was leaving the show for good, meaning his much-loved busybody character will no longer be seen in Weatherfield (pictured in 2020)

Big decision: ‘It took a great deal of courage to make the decision to retire. But I had come to realise that although the mind was willing the body was not so much’

However, he hasn’t been seen on the soap since after Ken decided to move back to Coronation Street. 

Since recovering from his heart attack, Malcolm previously made a number of fleeting cameos on the ITV soap. 

He made a guest appearance in May 2019 as he asked his wife Mary Taylor for a divorce so he could be free to marry his new girlfriend Freda Burgess.

Norris later returned briefly in October that year to help celebrate Ken Barlow’s 80th birthday.

Brief: Malcolm returned to the cobbles for a brief stint last year when he moved into the same care home as Ken Barlow and his then-partner Claudia Cosby

No return: However, he hasn’t been seen on the soap since after Ken decided to move back to Coronation Street

Just two months later, the former Kabin co-owner made the briefest of visits to his pal Rita Sullivan. 

Though Norris first appearance was in 1994, Malcolm actually made his debut on the soap back in 1974, where he played Mavis Riley’s Spanish love interest Carlos. 

Malcolm was left fighting for his life in late 2017 after suffering a massive heart attack, and only recovered after spending three weeks in a medically induced coma. 

Popping by: Since recovering from his heart attack, Malcolm previously made a number of fleeting cameos on the ITV soap 

First stint: Though Norris first appearance was in 1994, Malcolm actually made his debut on the soap back in 1974, where he played Mavis Riley’s Spanish love interest Carlos

On his recovery he told the Blackpool Gazette: ‘Most of December I was in an induced coma, in the care of these brilliant, wonderful people at the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU).

‘Fortunately, I didn’t realise how bad it was; I was dying. The cardiac team, headed by Mr Zacharias, simply saved my life.’

Norris had been a regular on the soap since 1994, and alongside being known for his non-stop gossiping, he was also no stranger to a playful spat with close friend and The Cabin co-owner Rita Sullivan.

Recovered: Malcolm was left fighting for his life in late 2017 after suffering a massive heart attack, and only recovered after spending three weeks in a medically induced coma

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