Pauline Quirke has confirmed that she will be leaving Emmerdale at the end of her current contract.
The actress will bow out from her role as Hazel Rhodes on the ITV1 soap at the end of the year, before starting work on a stage version of classic sitcom Birds of a Feather in 2012.
Speaking to What’s On TV about her Emmerdale future, Quirke explained: “They very kindly asked me to stay on until Christmas. And then next year I’m going to be doing a tour of Birds of a Feather – we’re going to bring Birds of a Feather back to the stage!
“We thought it was about time we resurrected us three old girls, so we’ll be doing a tour next spring. But I’m certainly going to be on the Woolpack steps until this Christmas.”
An Emmerdale spokesperson told Digital Spy today: “Pauline was originally due to appear for a year but extended her contract to the end of 2011, so there are many months of drama to come involving Hazel.”
Hazel is currently involved in an assisted suicide storyline on screen as she recently told her son Jackson that she would help him to die. Jackson has repeatedly stated that he no longer wants to live due to his paralysis.
Quirke starred in Birds of a Feather alongside Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph between 1989 and 1998.