Coronation Street boss Phil Collinson has admitted there have been too many criminals on the cobbles.

The producer of the ITV1 soap, which has been criticised in recent weeks, said there would be less crime in future.

In an interview with OK! magazine, he defended actress Michelle Collins, whose appearance as Rovers Return landlady Stella Price has been attacked over her northern accent.

He also hit back at criticism over gay storylines, saying: “I haven’t introduced any gay characters.”

But, asked whether there were too many criminals on the cobbles, Phil said: “Maybe I can take that one on the chin. I agree… We have been at the police station and the court room a little bit too much.

“As we move ahead we will shift away from serial killers and crime storylines.”

Recent killers, following in the tradition of serial murderer Richard Hillman, have included psychopath John Stape and murderer Tony Gordon.

Earlier this month, former Coronation Street star Johnny Briggs said the soap has become ‘boring and humourless’.

Johnny, who played factory boss Mike Baldwin for 30 years, complained: “There’s no laughter or humour… the comedy and drama is dead. I watched the 50th anniversary episode, but could only stand five minutes before I flicked over.”

William Roache, who has played Ken Barlow for half a century, defended the show, saying it remains ‘stronger than ever’.