Actor James Thornton has announced that he is to leave his role as farmer John Barton in Emmerdale next year.
Having arrived in the village with the rest of the Barton family to take over the village's farm in 2009, the actor has revealed that the time has come for him to move on.
The Press Association reports James, who is married to Gavin and Stacey's Joanna Page, saying: "I have had a fantastic time playing John for the past three years, but it's the longest I have ever played one part and the time now feels right to move on.
"I have decided to leave on a high with a big exit storyline in 2012, which I'm really excited about. I will miss all my colleagues at Emmerdale and have many very fond memories of my time in the Dales."
Stuart Blackburn, Emmerdale's series producer added: "James has created a truly memorable character in John and he will be greatly missed but his decision to leave has enabled us to play a hugely gripping and dramatic storyline which will be a highlight in Emmerdale in the coming months."
James' character in the soap hasn't had it easy the past few months after finding out that his wife had been having an affair with resident bad boy Cain Dingle.
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