Patsy Palmer is to leave EastEnders this autumn, but mouthy market stall holder Bianca Butcher will not be killed off.
A spokesperson for the actress said of her upcoming exit: “Patsy is really sad to be leaving the show as she loves playing Bianca and working with executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins but she knows it’s the right decision at this time in her life.”
Treadwell-Collins added: “We are so sad that Patsy has decided to leave us, but completely understand that it’s the right time for her. Bianca won’t be leaving Albert Square until the autumn, so there’s still a lot more to come from her on screen this year – and the door will be left wide open for her return.
“We won’t be getting rid of Bianca’s puffa jacket just yet.”
Quick-tempered Bianca arrived in Albert Square in November 1993 and has had her share of problems over the years, including having her kids taken into care and finding out that boyfriend Tony had been abusing adoptive daughter Whitney.
Her most famous on-screen partnership was with first husband Ricky (Sid Owen), who was regularly lambasted with the cry of “Rickaaaay!!!”.
Like Owen before her, Palmer, 41, is reportedly planning to move – along with her family – to Los Angeles once she finishes filming on the BBC1 soap.