His character, taxi firm boss Lloyd Mullaney, said goodbye to Weatherfield in September, and the actor admitted it had been a risk to leave such a secure job.
But he told the Daily Mirror that while the popular soap could go on without him, his other hit show Red Dwarf could not, so he had chosen to go back to his cult sci-fi role.
Talking about his ITV soap exit, Craig, 51, said: “Corrie is such a nice place to work, they make it very difficult for you to leave.
“The money is good, they are lovely crew and cast and you get very comfortable. It is cold out there for actors a lot of the time, so if you’ve got a steady job it is difficult to leave.”
He added: “A lot of people leave to go onto bigger and better things and then you see them three years later with a walk-on part in Waterloo Road. I know it is a risk and that.
“But Coronation Street will go on and on without me, but they wouldn’t do Red Dwarf without me, so unless I agreed, they would scrap it, and I have known those guys for 30 years and it is nice to go and finish that adventure.”
Red Dwarf (opens in new tab) is set to return for two more series in 2016 and 2017, host channel Dave announced in May.
They will see Craig back as hapless space explorer Dave Lister alongside Chris Barrie as Rimmer, Danny John-Jules as Cat and Robert Llewellyn as Kryten.
Craig said if his post-Corrie career doesn’t work out, then maybe he could return one day, as his character wasn’t killed off.
“You have got to be brave and turn round and say, I didn’t leave in a box did I? So if it all blows up in my face I could hopefully go back with my tail between my legs.”
The avid music fan is still finding time to DJ, with a Halloween special Friday Night is Music Night: Wizards, Witches And Scary Fairies, which will be broadcast on BBC Radio 2 at 8pm on October 30.
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