Claire King, who plays Erica Holroyd in Coronation Street, has become a regular cast member after being handed a permanent contract. 

The former Emmerdale and Bad Girls actress turned up on the cobbles in December as Liz McDonald’s old mate from her days in Spain. No sooner had she supped her first drink at the Rovers when she made a beeline for Nick Tilsey and the pair embarked on a no-strings-attached affair.

A few weeks ago, Erica returned to Weatherfield to tell her fling Nick that she’s pregnant with his baby. But there’s heartbreak ahead for the mum-to-be when she has a miscarriage in the coming weeks.

According to The Sun, a Corrie insider said: “Claire has been absolutely brilliant and the bosses have been very impressed.”

The newspaper also reports that it was Claire’s friendship with Beverley Callard, who plays Liz, that helped her to get the role.

They said: “She’s done a lot of scenes with Bev and the two get on wonderfully.”

The news comes after a raft of stars, including Craig Charles (Lloyd), Alison King (Carla) and Katy Cavanagh (Julie), have announced that they are quitting the soap. This week saw the departure of Jimi Mistry after his character Kal was killed in the fire at Victoria Court, while Amy Kelly – whose character Maddie is critically ill in hospital after being caught up in the fire – has also left the soap.

The Sun’s source said: “We’ve lost a few people recently, so a signing like this is great news.”