EastEnders facing its biggest ever shake-up as yet another character’s departure is revealed

You can tell there's a new boss in town!

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The door to a TV soap is always revolving but it seems EastEnders’ is spinning off its hinges at the minute.

With long-term executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins calling it a day, new man Sean O’Connor has taken over at the helm.

There seems to be trouble in paradise though…

There has been a number of high profile exits in the past few weeks, with Annette Badland, who plays evil Aunt Babe, being the latest to announce she’s leaving Albert Square.

This follows Nitin Ganatra, who played Masood Ahmed, and Riley Carter Millington (Kyle Slater) in being shown the door.

It seems that a clear-out is having a devastating effect on soap favourites.

Viewers have expressed their concern at the number that are finding their characters meeting the end of their soap life.

Here’s who is off (and has recently gone)…

Claudette Hubbard (Ellen Thomas)

Ellen has apparently already filmed her last scenes in the soap, so her departure is now imminent.

A spokesperson revealed that the character was one that would drift in and out of Albert Square, so it is not unusual to see her go.

They told The Mirror: “As our regular viewers will know, Claudette has often been seen coming and going from the Square to visit her family and friends.

“This is the end of another stint for Claudette and we wish Ellen all the best for the future.”

Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons)

The Mitchells have been devastated in the past couple of months.

Grant has come (and gone again), Peggy has gone (but may come back as a ghost), and Samantha Womack has said she is leaving Ronnie Mitchell behind.

With that, Rita Simons announced that she was leaving her role as Ronnie Mitchell too.

Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack)

Samantha Womack will be a big loss for the BBC soap after a decade starring as Ronnie Mitchell.

An EastEnders spokesman said of her impending departure: “We can confirm that Samantha Womack will be leaving EastEnders.

“Samantha has created an iconic character in Ronnie Mitchell, having superbly played out many of EastEnders’ biggest moments.

“However, Samantha was recently offered a big storyline which she happily accepted that leads to Ronnie departing Walford.”

The Mitchell family reunions are going to be a lot less chaotic after all these have gone!

Andy Flynn (Jack Derges)

Now you see him, now you don’t.

Just six months after joining EastEnders, Jack Derges character Andy Flynn has been shelved.

Don’t worry though, a few secrets are set to come out of the closet before he goes.

Obviously his time will be short, but sharp and explosive.

Les and Pam Coker (Roger Sloman and Lin Blakley)

They may be regular features in the storyline as the cope with the death of their grandson Paul, but it seems that is not enough to keep Les and Pam Coker in the Square.

Actors Roger Sloman and Lin Blakley have not had their contracts renewed by the new boss.

He has revealed that he felt their storylines had reached a natural end, and viewers will see them leave before the year is out.

Buster Briggs (Karl Howman)

Two years into his role as Buster Briggs, Karl Howman has now filmed his final scenes.

An explosive finale is promised, which is unsurprising as Buster has been cheating on partner Shirley Carter with Kathy Sullivan!

Jonny Labey (Paul Coker)

Actor Jonny Labey had one of the most dramatic exits from the soap as his character Paul Coker died at the hands of homophobic thugs.

Maddy Hill (Nancy Carter)

Maddy Hill’s decision to leave EastEnders as Nancy Carter was made last year.

Maddy said about leaving the soap: “It was time for Nancy to take a break from her family and me from EastEnders after having a wonderful time working on the show.

“I was surrounded by a terrific team both on and off camera and I shall miss seeing them all on a daily basis, especially the fabulous Carter family.”

Himesh Patel (Tamwar Masood)

The Masoods are another family that has seen many characters depart.

Himesh Patel has left the show after nine years as Tamwar Masood, so that he can explore pastures new.

He revealed: “I’m looking forward to new challenges, perhaps on the stage or behind the camera.

“Whatever awaits me, I’ll miss my family at EastEnders immensely – they’ve watched me grow from boy to man and supported me every step of the way.

“It’s been a true privilege to work alongside them.”

A new producer will have new ideas, so there is nothing new on there being a few character casualties along the way.

It has been a long time though since such a drastic cull has hit a UK soap.

Soap insiders have warned that the axe may not have finished falling on the cast, so more could be more making their way out of Walford over the coming months…

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor