Coronation Street star Graeme Hawley has revealed he is keeping the bushy beard he grew for playing John Stape as a fugitive.

The 37-year-old actor is bowing out of the soap next week after returning to save Fiz from jail. But Graeme has revealed his wife has taken a fancy to his new dishevelled look.

He said: “It is John’s beard. But John is very kindly going to let Graeme keep it I think.

“My wife quite likes it and I quite like it as well.

“I’m going to have to tidy it down a little bit – I’m a little bit wild man of Borneo at the moment. I’m going to trim it down a bit and hopefully get a bit more George Clooney with it, and keep it for a while.”

He added: “Until my agent phones me up and says ‘Get rid of that beard. No body wants to give you a job’!”

Graeme admits he will be sad to say goodbye to Corrie, but will keep in touch with all the friends he has made, and is looking forward to moving on.

He said: “It’s the same with anything in life, it’s much better to leave the party while it’s all good fun and great, than be the last one to go when it’s all over. So I’m much happier to go now while things are great and the story’s gone so well.”

Graeme Hawley will be back on screen as John Stape in Coronation Street on ITV1 from Monday, October 24.