Coronation Street’s Ryan Thomas has decided to quit the show – and set his sights on a Hollywood career.
The actor, who has played builder Jason Grimshaw since he joined the ITV soap 15 years ago as a teenager, said he felt it was “time to spread my wings and try other roles” and “pursue new challenges”.
The 31-year-old said: “It has been a great privilege to be in Coronation Street for the past 15 years. The cast and crew are amongst the best in the business and to have had the chance to be a part of it for so long has been an amazing experience.
“The decision to leave was an extremely difficult one but I felt that now was the right time to spread my wings and try other roles.
“I’m just excited now to see what exit storyline the writers give Jason.”
At last week’s Pride of Britain Awards, Ryan hinted at his decision. According to the Daily Mirror, he said: “Going to Hollywood is a dream so I’m going to see what happens… We can always dream.”
After ITV confirmed the departure, producer Stuart Blackburn paid tribute to the star, whose final scenes will air next summer. He said: “Ryan has been an important part of Coronation Street for 15 years. We wish him every success when he moves on next year and we appreciate his desire to try new things.
In the coming months he’ll be at the heart of a massive story, affecting not just his family but the Websters and the Windasses too, which will take us well into 2016.”
Jason has been a serial romancer on the Street, but has also had his heart broken several times. He’s dated Sarah Platt (real-life former girlfriend Tina O’Brien), Candice Stowe (Nikki Sanderson), Violet Wilson (Jenny Platt), Tina McIntyre (Michelle Keegan), Maria Connor (Samia Ghadie) and Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley).
His most prominent storyline was his marriage to Sarah in 2007, despite previously jilting her at the altar. But the relationship didn’t last.
Some fans have speculated that Jason could be framed for the murder of Callum Logan, as he unknowingly covered the manhole in Kylie and David Platt’s garage where they have hidden the body.
As Jason was certainly no fan of Callum, could he be sent to prison for a long, long time?