Marc Elliott and John Partridge, who play EastEnders couple Syed Masood and Christian Clarke, are to leave the long-running BBC1 soap later this year.
Elliott described his time on the show as “brilliant”, and praised it for how it addressed the issue of a man being gay and a Muslim. “As an actor you are always looking for new challenges,” he said. “I feel that now is the right time to move on and explore different projects, perhaps returning to my roots in the theatre."
Partridge said leaving at the same time as Elliot “felt like the only thing to do”. The actor, who has also performed in musical theatre and appeared as a talent judge on the BBC’s hunt-for-a-Dorothy series Over the Rainbow, added: “I have had the time of my life at EastEnders,” and that he felt that it is “right to end the story, and for Christian.”
Executive producer Lorraine Newman said the two actors had been “a fantastic part of the show and their characters have been a huge success”.
It is currently not known how the characters will depart from the soap.