Bryan Kirkwood is to leave his role as the executive producer of BBC1 soap EastEnders.
Kirkwood, 36, has spent two years in the job and is the man responsible for bringing back Kat and Alfie Moon, plus the recent reappearances of David and Simon Wicks. He has also introduced such characters as Derek Branning and Moon brothers Michael, Tyler and Anthony.
Two notable storylines of his tenure are the demise of show stalwart Pat Evans and the controversial baby-swap plot. The latter resulted in the BBC receiving over 13,000 complaints after Ronnie, played by Samantha Womack, swapped her dead baby for the newborn son of Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace).
However, over the past two years, EastEnders has also had awards success, scooping top soap prizes at the Baftas, National Television Awards, Royal Television Society Awards and British Soap Awards in 2011.
Kirkwood said of his decision: “Being the executive producer of EastEnders is one of the most exciting jobs in TV, but it’s also the most exhausting - so after two years, I’ve decided it’s time to leave Walford. It’s been a thrill to work with such talented people such as John Yorke, Simon Ashdown, and our amazing cast and crew. Most of all it’s been a privilege to tell stories that have genuinely had the nation talking. I’m going to take with me some brilliant friends and memories.
"I’m delighted to leave the show in the capable hands of Lorraine Newman. Lorraine has been by my side every step of the way for the last two years and knows EastEnders inside out. I wish her and the show every future success.”
John Yorke, BBC controller drama production and new talent, commented: “I would like to thank Bryan for his extraordinary hard work, a chest full of awards and some great storylines. It’s been a pleasure working with him and I wish him every success for the future."
Kirkwood will leave the Square next month with series producer Lorraine Newman taking over the role on an acting basis.