Soap star Tamzin Outhwaite is set to leave her role as Mel Owen on EastEnders.
The actress, 48, has reportedly decided to step down and is preparing to film her final scenes in the next few weeks.
According to Digital Spy, viewers will get to see her character’s exit story play out in early autumn – although bosses remain tight-lipped over details of her departure.
Tamzin told the publication: “When John [Yorke] asked me to return to EastEnders back in 2017, I jumped at the chance to play Mel once more but it was only supposed to be for a year. That year quickly passed and I agreed to stay on for another, but now the time feels right to once again pursue other challenges.
“I will of course miss so many people here at EastEnders, and I will forever have good memories of my time at the show, but I am also excited to experience new roles outside of Walford.”
It follows comments she made in December about agreeing to stay on the show because she was enjoying her character’s storylines so much.
Speaking on the BBC’s Saturday Kitchen before Christmas, she said: “The storylines that they told me about seemed like I was going to have fun with them, which I have been, and am.
“They tell you about the projected [storylines], what’s going to happen in the future, possibly for the next year.
“So, I was going to be there for a year, and now I’ve extended it to be there a bit longer, because I’m having such a good time.”
It has already been confirmed that Mel’s son, Hunter, will return to EastEnders over the summer.
The killer is currently locked up for gunning down his stepdad Ray Kelly during the soap’s dramatic New Year storyline, but the actor who plays him, Charlie Winter, was spotted filming at Elstree Studios several weeks ago.
Tamzin originally played Mel from 1998 to 2002, before reprising the role in early 2018.
EastEnders executive producer Jon Sen told Digital Spy: “We are extremely grateful to Tamzin for reviving the character of Mel Owen back in 2017, allowing EastEnders fans the chance to see one of Walford’s most popular characters take centre stage once more.”
He went on to call her an “incredible talent” and credited her with setting viewers’ “screens on fire” with her performances, wishing her luck with her future endevours.
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