Coronation Street fans were left inconsolable earlier this year when news broke that Charlie de Melo would be leaving the show.
Who could blame them? Imran Habeeb has become something of a cobbles staple in recent years, featuring in many high-profile storylines on the ITV soap.
From representing Yasmeen Nazir in court, to falling in love – and fostering a family with – Toyah Battersby, the lawyer has been integral to the serial drama lately.
Viewers, however, must now get used to the cobbled streets of Weatherfield without Imran, as the character met a tragic end earlier this week – dying shortly after being involved in a car crash.
Charlie, whose exit was officially confirmed in March, admitted that he first contemplated leaving the show two years ago, revealing that a ‘multitude of things’ led to his decision.
‘For reasons nothing to do with the job at all, my first couple of years working [at Coronation Street] were trying,’ he told Insertions.us. ‘I did find it difficult and so as I was heading towards the end of that second-year option, I’d kind of made the decision to move on.
‘I was ready to draw a line under my time in Manchester. It was a worthy but failed experiment to have made this big move and to have joined a job like this and then that’s when Covid struck, and so the decision got taken out of my hands.
‘So it meant that, by default, it was the sensible choice to stay and my personal life got cleared up a little bit and there was an element of the camaraderie that was so strong.’
‘We had to band together to keep this ship afloat and the stuff that I was being put in the middle of with the storyline with Ian Bartholomew and Shelley King. Then, subsequently, meeting and working with Millie Gibson and having so much more to do with Georgia and it just meant that the subsequent two years since have just been such a joy.’
Charlie told us that he eneded up ‘enjoying’ himself so much working at Corrie, as he was ‘constantly challenged’. That, however, led him to think that he would never leave.
‘I came to the realisation that I have no spouse, I have no car or mortgage or kids or any of these kinds of things that would otherwise necessitate consistency,’ he added.
‘I thought if I don’t close my eyes and step off into the void now, then I never will.
‘So, it was a sense of nothing to do with the job – if anything the job was really keeping me rooted and I had such a wonderful time there. It was just if not, now, when? And if not now, possibly never.’
Coronation Street continues on Monday June 6 at 8pm on ITV.