Former EastEnders actor Riley Carter Millington, who played Stacey Fowler’s brother, Kyle Slater, has spoken out over how he felt about his exit from the show.
He joined the soap under Dominic Treadwell-Collins in 2015, but was written out when Sean O’Connor took over and Riley’s year-long contract came up.
The actor was the first transgender actor to play a transgender character in soap and was involved in a powerful coming out storyline, which saw Denise Welch cast as his mother, Alison.
Alison was unable to accept her daughter was now her son, and despite Stacey’s best efforts to get them to work things out, the tension couldn’t be resolved.
Things seemed to stumble there for Kyle and he spent much of the rest of his time with few scenes and when he was on screen, it was as he cooked for the family.
His final scene saw him cooking lasagne for the family before heading off for a new job as a chef in France.
Speaking to The Sun, Riley said of his exit: “I was disappointed it was not shown that Kyle had a normal life.
“He had the big coming-out story and it was dramatic and emotional, but we didn’t get to see a happy ending, like a relationship of any sort other than the reunion with his half-sister, Stacey. It was frustrating.
“I felt I let myself and the fans down as I could have pushed for something.
“It’s a shame to have gay characters and then you have to say goodbye.”
He’s not the first person in recent weeks to slam Sean O’Connor for his exit decisions, as Danny-Boy Hatchard, who played Lee Carter, has recently spoken out about his own exit from the soap.
The character, son of Mick and Linda Carter, contemplated taking his own life last Christmas before deciding to leave his wife Whitney.
The ex-soldier believed he wasn’t good enough for his wife, and that he had to leave the Square to try and deal with his demons.
Danny-Boy said it was former producer Sean O’Connor who wrote the character out of the show the way he did.
The actor told The Sun: “He could have left a little more attention to detail. I feel it got a little brushed off.
“It was Sean’s decision and I had to respect that. But if I had written it, I’d have written it differently.”
The knives definitely seem to be out for Sean since he left, with a number of stories circulating about him, but a rep for the show continues to deny there’s any truth in the rumours.
O’Connor quit last month quite suddenly to work on his feature film projects and has been replaced in the interim by show stalwart John Yorke.