11:11 26 April 2010
Corrie stars Ashley Peacock (Steve Arnold) and his wife Claire (Julia Haworth) have been chopped from the show, it has been revealed.
After playing beloved Butcher Ashley for nearly 15 years, Arnold was left "stunned" when he was told his contract wouldn't renewed.
The news came after he and Haworth reportedly discussed future storylines with new producer Phil Collinson. However, the actors were told their contracts would not be renewed at the end of the year.
Corrie bosses have promised a dramatic exit for the pair, whose characters have two children Josh and Freddie.
Speaking of the decision, producer Collinson said: "Ashley and Claire Peacock have been part of the fabric of Weatherfield for many years but like any community, people come and go.
"Both the actors and myself felt that we had reached a crossroads with the characters, to the point that as actors they were not being fulfilled and stories were harder to find.
He continued: "We mutually decided to start working towards an exit for the Peacock family, giving the actors the chance to explore new opportunities and for us to devise a dramatic exit storyline.
"I wish Steven and Julia, and of course the young boys who play Josh and Freddie, all the best for the future."
Arnold first appeared in the soap as butcher Ashley in 1995. Four years on he married Maxine Heavey (Tracy Shaw), however, their happiness was short-lived as she had an affair with Dr Matt Ramsden (Stephen Beckett), before becoming another of evil Richard Hillman's (Brian Capron) murder victims.
Ashley went on to marry Claire Casey on Christmas Day in 2004. However their relationship, however, hit rocky ground when she began suffering postnatal depression following the birth of their first son Freddie.
An ITV spokesperson said: "Julia and Steven are to leave the show but contrary to some press reports, there has been no confrontation with the show producer Phil Collinson.
"All parties agreed this was the right time to say goodbye to the street's Peacock family."
The Peacocks will remain onscreen "until at least" the end of the year.
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