David Witts has revealed that he has been given the option of returning as Joey Branning once he leaves EastEnders this Christmas.
“They’re leaving the door open for me, which I’m really pleased about,” he told RadioTimes.com. “To be honest, it’s not going to be a massive exit because when you have one of those it’s then very hard for you to come back. So, it’s a nice story that gets me there, but it’s not going to be anything that people will be talking about for years to come!”
Acknowledging that Joey’s departure is connected to the exit of screen sister Alice (Jasmyn Banks), the actor added:
“Yes, it’ll be tied in with what’s happening with Alice, which is another nice element. Jas and I came in together and we’re leaving together. We’ve always had the same kind of ideas about what we wanted to do in the industry. We’re both very ambitious and we wanted to come into the show, do as much as we could, learn lots and then move on.”
Witts, 22, made his debut on the BBC1 soap in June 2012 and won a National Television Award earlier this year for Best Newcomer. His most high profile storyline saw Joey embark on an illicit relationship with his cousin Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa), although Witts is the first to admit that since the characters broke up, he’s been having less screen time.
“It’s been a really quiet year,” he added. “There have been lots of scenes of me just walking into the café and saying ‘all right’. However, it has started to pick up and get busier in the last couple of months. From Halloween through to Christmas, you’ll be seeing a lot more of me.”
So why has he now decided to call time on EastEnders and what are his future plans? “Eighteen months in, I just thought that now was the right time for me to go. For me, being an actor doesn’t mean just playing one part. I want to go through the process again of picking up a script and working out what I want to do with it.
"I’m starting rehearsing Hairspray in February, which will be on at the Curve Theatre in Leicester. I’m really excited to be going back on stage. And there are a whole plethora of roles out there to try, be they in theatre, film or TV.”
EastEnders continues on Tuesday at 7.30pm on BBC1