CORONATION Street’s Samia Longchambon has signed a new contract to keep Maria on the cobbles for another year.
Contract talks had been put on hold for a number of actors in Weatherfield due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But the popular star was told there was never any danger of her not being offered a new deal.
Stars returned to work in June following lockdown in March – with reduced cast numbers and social distancing on set.
A source told The Sun: “Samia is delighted after all the uncertainty over the last few months.
"She knew she just had to be patient because a new deal was always going to be on the table. It was just a matter of when.”
Samia has played Maria Sutherland since 2000.
Her biggest storylines to date include her first romance in 2000 with Tyrone Dobbs, giving birth to a stillborn baby, marrying Liam Connor, who was then murdered over his affair with sister-in-law Carla, and falling in love with her gay best friend, Marcus Dent.
Samia putting pen to paper is a relief to bosses who are battling to appease a host of stars whose pay deals have been hit during lockdown.
Many of the soap's fresher faces are on contracts which link their salary to the number of appearances they make on screen.
They are guaranteed a set minimum of episodes and are given bonuses for starring in more.
Up until now, the arrangement has allowed many of the cast to earn more than double their basic income.
But Covid has led to the number of weekly instalments of the long-running soap being cut.
So, many young actors have lost a fortune and are demanding bosses give them improved deals — insisting they cannot survive on current rates.
A source said: "Many of the younger stars have done very well out of this way of doing things for a long time — but now Covid has hammered them.
"When the number of shows per week was slashed because production was halted, they all lost out and are now pushing producers to agree to a new way of doing things.
"And some have told their agents they may consider walking if their income can't be guaranteed. It has become very heated on both sides. Actors want to know their living is secured — and ITV don't want to pay people for more than they have actually done. It's very difficult."
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