EastEnders SHOCK: Fans gutted as major star QUITS

He was one of the most popular characters

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There was dismay among EastEnders fans after it was announced that one of the more popular characters on Albert Square has quit the soap.

It has been announced that Nitin Ganatra, who plays Masood Ahmed, will leave before the end of the year.

He has been in Walford for nine years and fans are apparently ‘gutted’ about his departure.

Viewers thanked Nitin for the highs and lows that his character has brought and wished him luck for the future.

Read more: Has Danny Dyer confirmed that he is leaving EastEnders?

Other fans lamented the fact that the soap will not be the same without him.

Speaking out about the reaction to his departure, Nitin said: “Genuinely touched by the response to the news of my leaving EastEnders.

“Thank you for the Masood love.”

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The 49-year-old actor will say his final goodbye before the end of the year but there is good news for fans.

The character will not be killed off so there is a door open for Nitin to return to Masood at some point in the future.

There is speculation that Walford may lose another of its biggest characters.

Danny Dyer, who plays Mick Carter, retweeted a post made by an EastEnders fan blog which ran a speculative article with the headline MICK TO LEAVE WITH LINDA?, referencing Kellie Bright’s upcoming maternity leave.

He then provoked a bit of a stir on Twitter with a series of seemingly cryptic tweets that could be hinting he might be leaving Albert Square.

Kellie, 39, plays Danny’s wife Linda Carter in the soap and has already said she won’t be leaving the show for good after welcoming her second child in November.

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Obviously, Danny’s fans quickly descended into panic at the post, with many assuming he was hinting he is leaving the BBC soap.

One wrote: “If Danny leaves, I’ll never watch the show again and I’m sure none of his other fans will either.”

Another added: “Omg are you leaving, when xxx.”

“Please don’t say you’re leaving,” begged another.

One fan pointed out the blog post was “just a fan theory”, and urged others to stop worrying about it.

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Earlier this year, when Kellie’s pregnancy was announced, 39-year-old Danny denied he would be saying goodbye to Walford during his co-star’s maternity break.

He even joked that he would have an affair with Dot Cotton in the interim. Nice.

There is a worry now though that he has had second thoughts as he teased that he would be lonely without his screen wife…

It is assumed that Danny is being his usual cheeky self and won’t be leaving the soap – in which he has been a beloved cast member since 2013.

There have been a couple other stars of the BBC that have confirmed that they are leaving.

EastEnders actress Rita Simons is to leave the soap after nine years as Roxy Mitchell.

A spokesman for the BBC soap confirmed to the Press Association that a mutual decision had been made regarding her exit.

This follows news last week that Samantha Womack, who plays her on-screen sister Ronnie Mitchell, is also departing.

Samantha Womack as Ronnie Mitchell (left) and Rita Simons as Roxy Mitchell (BBC/Jack Barnes)

A statement from the show read: “We can confirm that Rita Simons will be leaving EastEnders.

“Having joined the show in 2007, Rita immediately won the hearts of the audience in the role of Roxy Mitchell and between her and Samantha Womack they created one of the most iconic duos EastEnders has ever seen.

“Alongside Samantha, Rita was recently offered to take part in the same big storyline that will see the Mitchell sisters depart Walford, but we will not be releasing any further details at this time. We wish Rita all the best for the future.”

In her role as Roxy, Rita has been involved in several major storylines over the years, often involving her character’s relationships with the likes of Sean Slater and Alfie Moon.

The 39-year-old actress has also tackled an attempted rape storyline, which saw Roxy attacked by Dean Wicks.

Rita Simons and Samantha Womack (Ian West/PA)

Samantha was revealed to be leaving the long-running serial drama last week and will say goodbye to Albert Square next year.

She is thought to have made the decision after the BBC soap’s boss Sean O’Connor offered her a dramatic exit plot.

Walford stalwart Peggy Mitchell, played by Dame Barbara Windsor, said her final farewell this year after taking her own life in a controversial storyline.

It marked the TV veteran’s departure from the soap after playing the former Queen Vic landlady on and off since 1994.

EastEnders’ executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins stepped down from his position in May and was replaced by The Archers’ editor Sean.

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor