Coronation Street‘s new producer Phil Collinson has denied being a ‘hatchet man’ – despite having written a host of major names out of the soap.

The former Doctor Who producer has axed six characters since joining the show five months ago, including Claire and Ashley Peacock, played by Julia Haworth and Steven Arnold.

Vicky Binns, who plays Molly Dobbs, Ben Thompson, aka Ryan Connor, Rachel Lescovak, who plays Natasha Blakeman and Steve Jackson, aka bin man Trevor Dean have also been given the chop.

Vicky Entwhistle, who plays Janice Battersby, also recently announced she was leaving, but denied reports that she had fallen out with Phil. And veteran star Bill Tarmey is set to depart after starring as Jack Duckworth for 31 years.

However Phil dismissed the hatchet man claims as “absolute nonsense” – and also denied reports that there had been any rifts between him and cast members.

“The idea that I came in with some sort of manifesto to shock is nonsense,” he said.

“I’m very aware it’s people’s jobs, they’ve been in the show a long time, but the decisions don’t just come from me. There are 18 writers on the show and every week we debate where the storyline is going to go, and we reach these conclusions together.

“I get on really well with the cast and they’ve all been wonderfully welcoming,” Phil added.

However he did warn that a host of characters would be killed off in “dramatic events”, including the horrific tram crash planned for the show’s 50th anniversary episode in December.

“The cast all realise they are jobbing actors and that being on Corrie isn’t forever – nothing is,” he said.

“Characters reach a point when there’s nothing left for them.”