Ex-Coronation Street star Bill Ward to join Emmerdale
29 AUGUST 2013
Former Corriestar Bill Ward is coming back to the silver screen, this time in another of ITV's soaps, Emmerdale.
The actor, previously known as Charlie Stubbs of Weatherfield, is to play a new member of the Barton family.
"I'm really looking forward to it," said Bill. "The Emmerdale team are a very talented bunch indeed and I'm extremely chuffed to have been asked to join them."
Bill, who left Coronation Street after playing bully builder Charlie for three and a half years in 2007, will play farmer James Barton, the older brother of Moira's late husband John and father to three grown-up sons, who shows up unexpectedly.
Emmerdale producer Kate Oates shared her delight at the new addition to the long-running soap set in the Yorkshire Dales: "I'm delighted to welcome Bill to the show."
She also said that the surprise arrival of Bill's character will be the beginning of "a new era".
"The Barton family have always been extremely popular with our audience and the arrival of James will be the start of a new era for them."
Meanwhile, another end of an era is on the cards at Corrie as Michelle Collins is also set to leave when her current contract ends in April 2014.
The actress, who plays Rovers Return landlady Stella Price, has decided not to stay on after more than two years on the hit soap.
The news comes amid speculation that Liz McDonald – played by Beverly Callard – will return as the pub landlady when she arrives back later the year.
Now, with her time in Weatherfield drawing to a close, Michelle has said she will miss playing the feisty landlady.
"Stella Price has been a revelation to play," she said. "So much has happened to the character since we discovered she was Leanne's real mum .
"From catching Karl with barmaid Sunita to her near-death experience in the Rovers fire, I've loved playing Stella and will be very sorry to leave her behind."
Michelle, who has a 16-year-old daughter Maia, became a household name playing Cindy Beale in rival soap EastEnders from 1988 to 1998.