Keith Duffy quit 'Coronation Street' so he can concentrate on raising his family.

The former Boyzone singer-turned-actor - who plays Irish lothario Ciaran McCarthy in the ITV soap - handed in his notice to producers in September so he can spend the next year concentrating on being a father to daughter Mia, 11, who has autism, and son Jay,15.

Hopefully, if they want me back the following year, then I might consider relocating the family to the UK next summer.

Speaking of his decision to leave, he told The Sun newspaper: "It wasn't an easy decision. I sat down with my wife Lisa and she said, 'Keith, I really need you here and the kids need you here'.

"Mia is autistic and very set in her ways. Routine is vital in her life. And it's my son's first year of major exams at school. He's doing the equivalent of his GCSEs this year.

"Moving the family over to England from Dublin wasn't an option just yet because Mia needs to finish her school year where she is at the moment. So I came in to see the 'Coronation Street' producers and explained I was going to have to sit this year out in Ireland.

"Hopefully, if they want me back the following year, then I might consider relocating the family to the UK next summer."

Keith's exit from the soap will take place at Christmas, when Ciaran's gambling problem sees him loose all the money saved for his wedding to Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) and stage a robbery in order to get it back.

However, the 'Coronation Street' festive special won't be all doom and gloom, as producers have decided to pack the wintery season full of heart warming scenes and jokes.

Viewers will see Katy Armstrong (Georgia May Foote) give birth on Christmas Eve (24.12.11), while boyfriend Chesney Battersby Brown (Sam Aston) faces a dash across town to be with her - dressed as an elf.

Meanwhile older characters Rita Sullivan and Emily Bishop will turn Masterchefs and battle it out to see who can cook the best Christmas dinner.