Derek Griffiths – aka mechanic Freddie Smith – is leaving Coronation Street.

The actor, 70, has been on the cobbles for a year and will be on screen until the end of April.

A source said that it was Derek’s decision to leave at the end of his contract.

Kylie Platt (Paula Lane) and Freddie (Derek Griffiths)
Kylie Platt, played by Paula Lane, and Freddie, played by Derek Griffiths, have a drink in the Rovers (ITV)

Derek was the face of the children’s series Play School and Play Away during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company for two years, has starred in numerous West End productions and notched up a wealth of parts in TV shows from Rising Damp to Casualty.

The Manchester Evening News reports that Derek will join a stage production of Driving Miss Daisy at the end of his contract.

Freddie Smith (Derek Griffiths) (ITV)
Derek Griffiths as his character Freddie Smith (ITV)

When he joined Corrie, Derek said that he watched Violet Carson on the soap as a young boy.

“She was a brilliant character that people loved to hate and later, when I became an actor and played the villain in panto many times, those are qualities I would bring to the role,” he said.

“When I came for my audition, one of the first things I saw was a huge photo of Violet Carson on the wall. I am very much looking forward to walking in those hallowed footsteps.”