Coronation Street’s Chris Fountain says he can understand why leaving the soap is a scary prospect for his co-star Michelle Keegan.

The pair play friends Tommy Duckworth and Tina McIntyre, but Michelle recently announced she would be leaving the ITV series next year.

Chris, who left Hollyoaks after six years in 2009, said: “I know what Michelle’s going through. It’s your decision to leave, it’s not a case of being written out. You’re saying to them, ‘I’d like to leave now,’ and they’re offering you another contract saying, ‘Please, we’d like you to stay’.

“It’s such a difficult move to make, but you have to be strict on yourself – you have to say, ‘I’m leaving that’s that,’ you can’t have any second thoughts about it.

“There are so many out of work actors in England so to work on a soap, you’re in work every day, you’ve got a different script every day, you’re working with different directors, great people, great actors – it’s an absolutely fantastic job and you can never question that. We’re very lucky to be in the position we’re in.

“As an actor you’ve also got to challenge yourself and test where you can go, and sometimes you have to break away from your comfort zone being in a soap.

“I’m lucky, I did quite a lot of work when I came out of Hollyoaks, but it didn’t stop me from being absolutely petrified. I know for a fact if I left Coronation Street I’d have in the back of my head I might never get another job.

“But you can’t think like that, you’ve just got to keep going and plug away, but I think Michelle will be absolutely fine.”