09:55 13 October 2009
Coronation Street veteran Maggie Jones has been left fighting for her life in hospital after rupturing her spleen in a fall.
The star, who found fame playing battleaxe Blanche Hunt, has had major surgery and was said to be critically ill.
Doctors diagnosed the potentially life-threatening condition after the 75-year-old widow fell at her home on Sunday.
She is being treated at the Hope Hospital in Manchester where doctors believe the next few days are vital.
The Sun reported that show bosses are writing her out of all immediate scenes and breaking the tragic news to her co-stars on the ITV soap.
A Corrie source told the newspaper: "Our thoughts and prayers are with her at this difficult time.
"Everyone here is wishing her a speedy recovery and we hope she's going to be OK.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed because obviously she is one of the elder members of the cast.
"There's a very real chance her career's over and the character of Blanche will be off screens for good.
"Even if she manages to make a full recovery she wouldn't be filming again until Christmas, which will keep her off-screen until mid-February at least.
"It's devastating news for fans. She's a very popular actress and has a massive following on the show."
Jones made her initial Corrie debut in the 1960s as a policewoman, followed by another guest appearance a few years later.
She first starred as Deirdre Barlow's firm mother Blanche in 1974 and became a regular cast member in 1999, becoming known for her cutting one-liners which have won awards for best comedy performance in a British soap in 2005 and 2008.
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