Coronation Street actress Helen Flanagan has confirmed that she will be leaving the soap after 12 years playing the role of Rosie Webster.

The 21-year-old told the Sunday Mirror that she will film her final scenes at Christmas, which will be screened early in the new year.

However she denied that a recent spate of panic attacks – including one on the set of the show recently – are behind her decision to quit.

“I have played Rosie for more than half my life and I feel the time has come for me to move on and try something new,” she said. “I am very excited about what the future might hold for me.

“I have loved playing Rosie and during my time growing up on Corrie I have made some amazing friends and learnt an awful lot.”

According to reports over the weekend show bosses had wanted Helen to stay, while cast members were reportedly rallying round the actress to try and persuade her to stay on before her contract expired in March.

However she has now reached a deal with producers to leave three months early – and a storyline is being planned that will leave the door open for her to return in the future.

Producer Phil Collinson said, “We are sorry to see Helen go but wish her every success for the future.”

A friend of the actress said that she would probably use the break to spend more time with her boyfriend, Swansea City star Scott Sinclair.

“She has struggled with panic ­attacks and makes no ­secret of that but she’s getting them under ­control,” the source said.

“Helen will probably take a break from acting. She can’t wait to spend time with Scott and take their relationship to the next level. She may return one day but it’s the last thing on her mind now.”