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Corrie bosses deny 'oldies axe'

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Corrie bosses deny 'oldies axe'

Betty Driver

Coronation Street bosses today denied claims that three of the show's older stars have been threatened with the axe.

A report in a tabloid newspaper suggested that Betty Driver, Eileen Derbyshire and Barbara Knox - who play Weatherfield's Betty Williams, Emily Bishop and Rita Sullivan respectively - were on the verge of being given the boot by the soap's producer Kim Crowther.

However, a Corrie spokeswoman told DS: "Kim Crowther sees the older actors in the show as absolute Coronation Street gold and would never seek to lose them."

They added: "Barbara Knox and Eileen Derbyshire will be leading some big storylines in 2009, while Betty Driver always provides gravitas behind the bar at the Rovers and we will continue to seek to use her where we can."

Last month, Derbyshire, 78, celebrated her 48th year playing religious resident Emily, an achievement which her co-star Kenneth Cope (Jed Stone) believes should be honoured with a damehood.

Knox, 75, has racked up some 36 years' service on the Street, while 88-year-old Driver will mark her 40th year on the cobbles in June.

Earlier in the year, Driver decided to take a six-month break from the show to care for her ill younger sister Freda, who died suddenly at the beginning of last month.

Meanwhile, it was recently claimed that 74-year-old Maggie Jones, who plays the soap's outspoken Blanche Hunt, was 'saved from the axe' following a long-term planning meeting. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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