Craig Gazey has announced he’s leaving Coronation Street this summer.

The 28-year-old actor plays hapless butcher Graeme Proctor and has become one of the street’s most-loved characters since he arrived in 2008.

Craig said: “When I first joined the cast I had no idea how much I’d enjoy being part of such an amazing team. But I became an actor for the diversity of the work and the opportunity to play different roles. I also really miss working in theatre.

“I feel this is the right time to leave after two and a half fantastic years playing a unique and brilliantly written character. I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope I will be given the opportunity to show my versatility as an actor and work on different projects.”

Craig first appeared as hapless jailbird Graeme in April 2008, David Platt’s cellmate and eventual best friend. More recently he’s been involved in increasingly central plots, such as falling for David’s ex-girlfriend Tina McIntyre and being run over by David.

Craig won best newcomer at the 2010 National TV Awards and best comedy performance at the British Soap Awards the same year.

Click here to watch whatsontv.co.uk’s weekly soaps video preview, the Soap Scoop