Coronation Street fans have expressed their concern for soap stalwart Rita Tanner after she started showing signs of memory loss.

The character, who is played by Barbara Knox and who first appeared on the soap in 1964, seemed to think her husband Len was still alive and viewers launched an online campaign to #SaveRita.

One viewer wrote on Twitter: "A little lump in my throat watching #Corrie and the #Rita storyline starting. Please don't kill off such a wonderful character. #SaveRita."

Another wrote: "Unless Barbara Knox wants to retire, I will never ever ever forgive @itvcorrie if they are deliberately writing out Rita. #corrie #SaveRita."

A fan account for the soap tweeted: "From her first appearance in '64 to the present day, Barbara Knox as Rita has ensured quality Coronation St. Make sure to #SaveRita."

Others found the signs of her dementia very distressing, with one viewer writing: "the rita storyline is only starting and it's breaking my heart already."

Another said: "I'm not sure I'm emotionally ready to deal with Rita being ill."

Coronation Street continues on ITV.