Coronation Street has been on our screens for over 50 years – we’ve seen many characters leave the cobbles during over the decades; some having left on their own accord, whilst others have faced tragic endings. Viewers were overjoyed to see the back of some of the villains of the street, whilst others left us in floods of tears when it came to those heartbreaking final scenes.
Here, we have listed 12 of the soap’s killed-off characters and what the real-life actors have been up to ever since:
12. Philip Middlemiss (Des Barnes)
His exit: After being attacked by a gang of drug dealers who were on the hunt for his stepson Tony, Des passed-away in hospital in 1998.
Afterwards: Since leaving the cobbles, Philip secured a regular role on Where The Heart is between 2000-2006 and later went on to have a string of appearances on reality TV shows; including Channel 4’s Come Dine with Me in 2010. Just two years later, he caused a media storm when it was announced he was unable to pay taxes due to being declared bankrupt.
However, after getting work as a paid travel consultation, he stated that he was able to pay back all the money he owed.
“They [the HMRC] applied for whatever they said I owed in back taxes. I disputed it and disputed it again.” he said. “I was waiting for money to come in but I didn’t have enough time so they petitioned for bankruptcy. I have petitioned for an annulment and that takes about six weeks to get done.”
11. Gaynor Faye (Judy Mallet)
Her exit: Judy’s exit was so unexpected; that fans were devastated when she suddenly passed away in her own backyard. A little way beforehand, Judy had been involved in a serious car accident just weeks before, but seemed to spring back into normal routine fairly quickly – that was until she dropped dead after suffering a pulmonary embolism due to a leg injury.
Afterwards: Gaynor stepped away from soaps and appeared in a selection of TV dramas including the likes of Playing the Field, The Chase and Fat Friends. In 2006, she took part in ITV’s Dancing on Ice and was crowned champion, alongside partner, Daniel Whiston.
Currently, she is playing the role of Megan Macey in Emmerdale.
10. Bill Ward (Charlie Stubbs)
His exit: Charlie Stubbs exited the street in 2007; after girlfriend Tracy Barlow sought revenge. He had been having an affair with ex-girlfriend Shelley Unwin, which resulted in a pregnancy, and then began an affair with Maria Sutherland who was renting his flat. In a bid to get her own back, Tracy began to self-harm; pretending Charlie had been abusing her and later, hit him over the head with an ornament, the result of which caused his death.
Afterwards: Bill Ward has made various appearances in well-known TV dramas including the likes of The Bill, Casualty and Doctors. He returned to soapland in 2012; playing the role of James Barton in Emmerdale. His last appearance was in 2017.
9. Lucy-Jo Hudson (Katy Harris)
Her exit: When Katy became pregnant with Martin Platt’s baby (who was over 20 years her senior) her dad Tommy was furious by their unconventional romance and came up with the lie that Martin was having an affair – persuading Katy to have a termination. Discovering her dad’s manipulative scheme, she lashed out by hitting him over the head with a wrench.
Katy’s mum Angela had witnessed what had happened and promised she wouldn’t call the police. Fabricating the story that Tommy’s had died after being abused by an intruder, forensics discovered that Angela could be guilty; leading to her arrest. Struggling to cope with the guilt, Katy committed suicide by drinking a cup of sugar and water – a fatal combination due to being diabetic.
Afterwards: Since leaving the show, Katy went on to star in Doctors; in which she won a ‘Villain of the Year’ award for her portrayal as Rhiannon Davis.
Recent news has confirmed that she is now set to join Hollyoaks this year.
During her stint on Coronation Street, Katy fell in love with Alan Halsall; who still plays the role of Tyrone Dobbs. The pair have a four-year-old daughter together; but just last week, they announced that they would be divorcing after eight years of marriage.
In a statement, she said: “I can confirm that Al and I are in the process of divorcing. We remain friends and devoted Mummy and Daddy to our daughter Sienna. We would appreciate privacy so that we can focus on Sienna’s continued happiness.”
8. Robert James-Collier (Liam Connor)
His exit: Liam was the victim of a hit and run accident planned by his own brother, Tony, who had discovered he had been having an affair with his wife, Carla. On the day of Carla and Tony’s wedding, Liam told her that he loved her despite not knowing that his girlfriend Maria was pregnant. His final appearance on the soap was in 2008, after passing away in hospital as a result of the fatal accident.
Afterwards: After leaving Coronation Street, Robert went on to have a great deal of success in ITV’s hit drama Downton Abbey, playing a lead role of Thomas Barrow between the years of 2010-2015. He later went on to appear in the West End production of Calendar Girls, and most recently, starred in ITV’s crime drama The Level in 2016.
7. Grahame Hawley (John Stape)
His exit: John was the on/off boyfriend of Fizz Brown, until the pair eventually tied the knot in 2009. He was at the centre of many storylines, but his most memorable was his fling with his student, Rosie Webster and later kidnapped her in his car. John drove off with Rosie, before getting chased by Jason Grimshaw; but ends up crashing and suffering fatal injuries.
Afterwards: Since leaving Corrie, Grahame has appeared in an array of popular television series including Home Fires, Benidorm and Peaky Blinders; as well as acting in a selection of theatre productions around the UK.
6. Thomas Craig (Tommy Harris)
Her exit: As previously mentioned, Tommy was bumped off by his own daughter Katy, as a result of spreading lies that her boyfriend Martin had been having an affair. He persuaded Katy to have an abortion after discovering that she was pregnant, as he didn’t approve of their relationship due to Martin being 20 years older. Devastated that Martin had dumped her after she had confronted him about the alleged affair, Katy got hold of a wrench and hit him over the head, leaving him for dead.
Afterwards: Since leaving the cobbles, Thomas has appeared on a number of shows including the likes of Casualty and Doctors. These days, he seems to have moved further afield for his work and is currently starring in the Canadian TV show Murdoch Mysteries in the role of Inspector Brackenreid.
5. Tracy Shaw (Maxine Peacock)
Her exit: Richard Hillman broke into the home of Maxine and Ashley’s home; knowing that elderly Emily Bishop was babysitting their son, Joshua. He had planned to attack Emily; with the aim of making it look as though she had been a victim of a burglary,. His plan was sabotaged when Maxine returned home early to find Richard in the process of hitting Emily with a crowbar.
Hearing her son crying from upstairs, Maxine ran – but Richard then went on to attack her with the crowbar. Her body was later found by husband, Ashley.
Afterwards: Formerly voted as one of soapland’s hottest females, Tracy Shaw is hardly recognisable from her days on Corrie.
Spotted in public with bruises on her arms, whispers circulated that her marriage to TV producer Robert Ashworth wasn’t going too well. Those close to the star admitted that alcohol had been leading to intense arguments and fights, and on a return flight home from a trip, many witnessed the actress slapping her husband across the face, which she later told the press had been the result of drinking.
While many were left feeling sorry for Tracy, her agent Peter Charlesworth claimed that the actress could more than stand up for herself due to her fiery nature and told The Daily Mail: “If anybody tried to beat up anybody in that marriage, it would be Tracy beating up Robert. She’s very tough.They have had a couple of rows, but they are a volatile young couple. To say that her marriage is over is all lies and rubbish.
‘She has just spent a week with him at home, they are living in that house together. There is no question at this time of a divorce.
In 2012, it was revealed that Tracy would be returning to the soap for one last time as Maxine – but this time, coming back as a ghost for a one-off special on behalf of ITV’s Text Santa charity.
In 2017, it was revealed that Tracy would be making a huge comeback in her acting career; starring in the 2018 film, Monster.
4. Steve Arnold (Ashley Peacock)
His exit: Ashley was caught up in Corrie’s biggest storyline of 2010 – the horrific tram crash which demolished most of the iconic street. Celebrating Peter Barlow’s stag night at the Joinery, an explosion ripped through the building, leaving Ashley severely injured and trapped.
The roof began to fall in, but Ashley held it up, just enough for Nick to escape. Nick offered his hand to help Ashley get out, but realising there is no way out, Ashley urged him to make a quick exit. The roof eventually collapsed under the pressure and Ashley was tragically crushed to death.
Afterwards: After appearing in Coronation Street for more than 15 years, fans were devestated by Steve Arnold’s departure, however, the actor has since gone to have a fairly varied career in TV stage and theatre.
In 2012, he took part in the ITV challenge show Total Wipeout in which he placed third. It was reported that in June 2017, he was filming a new drama A Dish Served Cold.
3. Katy Carmichael (Lucy Barlow)
Her exit: Lucy left the street back in 2003 when she discovered her husband Peter Barlow had been having an affair with the Rover’s barmaid, Shelly Unwin. Her initial exit storyline was to pack up her things and take their son Simon off to Austrailia for a new life. Her very final line leaving was: “This is for Simon’s sake. The other side of the world’s hardly far enough but it’s the best I can do. You know what really grieves me, Peter? I honestly did love you. We could’ve had the best life together… if only just for once you’d been a real man, instead of a sorry apology for one.”
Fans always thought Lucy may return one day, but in 2008, bosses decided to kill off the character once and for all, with Peter phoning Ken to declare that she had died of breast cancer. Peter then returned to the cobbles with son, Simon.
Afterwards: Since leaving Coronation Street, Katy went on to play the role of Melissa Ryan in Waterloo Road and later, appeared in Casualty.
In 2010, she set up her own Bristol-based theatre company and used her acting experience to direct many of the company’s productions.
Here’s a little-known fact – during her days at drama school, Katy had a five-year relationship with the then unknown David Walliams; who wrote and co-starred in the series Little Britain and is currently a judge on ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent.
2. Eve Steel (Anne Malone)
Her exit: Anne was the former supervisor of Firman’s Freezers on the street, before gaining a promotion to become assistant manager. However, her time on the soap was cut short when she got locked in one of the freezers by a security guard and froze to death, in 1998.
Afterwards: It’s been 20 years since Corrie fans saw Eve Steel in the role of Anne, and since then she’s gone on to appear in an array of TV series including the likes of The Royal, Doctors and most recently in 2016, Scott and Bailey
1.Vicky Bins (Molly Dobbs)
Her exit: Vicky first appeared on Corrie back in 2005; before beginning a relationship with Tyrone Dobbs. The pair went on to marry in 2009. However, it wasn’t long before Molly had a fling with Tyrone’s best friend Kevin Webster and later discovered she was pregnant with his baby.
Kevin decided to stay with his wife Sally who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer despite the affair, however, Molly was so smitten with Kevin that she decided to leave Tyrone for good.
On the night she left, Molly got caught up in the explosive tram crash storyline and suffered horrific injuries. Before dying as a result of the accident, Molly confessed the truth to Sally; admitting that her baby, Jack, was, in fact, Kevin’s child.
Afterwards: Since leaving Coronation Street, Vicky went on to play a leading guest role in Casualty, before trying her hand at musical theatre and appearing in the West End production of Singin’ in the Rain as Lina Lamont.
However, it was reported by The Sun that the actress is so desperate for work, that she’s now hiring herself out as a wedding guest for a whopping £3000. Her role simply includes turning up to the venue and chatting with other guests.
An insider from Coronation Street reportedly stated: “It’s a shame, but times are hard for actors.”