Coronation Street producer Phil Collinson is reported to have issued an urgent demand to scriptwriters for fresh storylines as ratings fell.

According to the Sunday papers the soap’s viewing figures have tumbled from 10.4m at the end of May to around the seven million mark.

And the final edition of the News Of The World reports that the slump coincided with the arrival of Stella Price, played by Michelle Collins – who has been criticised by fans for her Northern accent.

Meanwhile the People says that Collinson has demanded new storylines for at least 15 of the show’s regular characters, whom he said were in “urgent need of attention”.

“Collinson really didn’t pull any punches,” an insider told the paper. “The team of scriptwriters was told in no uncertain terms that they needed to do much more.

“He believes a group of popular characters have fallen by the wayside and fears this may lead to a further fall in viewer figures.”

Another source told the News Of The World that the show had lost some of its humour and described it as “a slightly camp version of EastEnders.”

“It’s a mess – personified by the casting of Michelle Collins, an actress who is the face of a rival Cockney soap trying to play a Manchester pub boss,” the insider said.

“Many people believe he was wrong to get rid of Ashley and Claire Peacock (Steven Arnold and Julia Haworth) – they were like a future Stan and Hilda Ogden type couple.”