The actor, who joined a year ago playing mechanic Freddie Smith, will leave the soap at the end of April

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. It is understood he has now filmed his final scenes.

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, 70s and 80s.

He worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company for two years, has starred in numerous West End productions including Miss Saigon and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 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.”

Freddie first appeared on the soap last March, when he turned up at Kylie’s beauty salon. He later got a job at Kevin’s garage and had a brief romance with Audrey.

It is understood Griffiths left of his own accord at the end of a one-year contract.