EastEnders’ Stacey to leave Walford

Award-winning Lacey Turner bows out of the soap after "five torrid years" in Albert Square

Eastenders star Lacey Turner will be bowing out of the soap later this year, the BBC confirmed today.

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Turner’s character, Stacey Branning, has endured five torrid years in Albert Square, during which time she’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, twice been married to the same man, Bradley – who later fell to his death – and confessed to the murder of Albert Square villain Archie Mitchell.

The 22-year-old actress is set for a “typically dramatic Slater family exit”, according to executive producer Bryan Kirkwood, although “the door will be left open for the character to return in the future.”

Turner, who has garnered several awards for her portrayal of Stacey, said she’d had a fantastic time playing a “brilliant role”, but that “the time has come to try something different.”

Kirkwood added, “It’s only right that someone as talented and versatile as Lacey should pursue new challenges and we wish her the very best of luck.”

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Meanwhile, Gillian Wright, who plays Stacey’s mother, is also set to leave the show, with the Queen Vic’s legendary landlady Peggy Mitchell – played by Barbara Windsor – due to pull her last pint this year.