EastEnders Hayley Slater

EastEnders star “traumatised” by their character’s death

They didn't want their soap alter-ego to die

EastEnders fans were furious when Ronnie and Roxy were killed off on New Year’s Day this year – the Mitchell sisters were two of the soap’s most popular characters.

The departure of actresses Sam Womack and Rita Simons from the show after a decade of heading up some major storylines was a big blow for many viewers.

Their brutal deaths only compounded that frustration.

Now Rita Simons, who played the younger sibling for a decade, has revealed that

Roxy found the nature of her exit hard (Credit: BBC)

She told the Sunday People: “It wasn’t because I can’t come back.

“I won’t have to spend the rest of my life wondering if I’ll get the call inviting me to return.

“We really loved those characters. We both found watching our death scene really distressing.

“It’s horribly strange to see ­yourself and your best friend floating dead in a swimming pool.”

Roxy and Ronnie’s watery end (Credit: BBC)

But the 40-year-old – now touring with hit musical Legally Blonde – isn’t bitter.

“I’ll always be grateful for a part that made me who I am today,” she continued. “But the way Sam and I met our end was harsh, really traumatic.”

Rita admitted the saddest thing about leaving the show was massing co-star Sam.

“She’s like the sister I never had. One of the great sadnesses about leaving is I don’t see her nearly enough anymore. I miss her,” she added.

“We’d work together all morning and then go off to get our nails done at lunchtime. We were inseparable.”

The soap sisters faced a brutal end (Credit: BBC)

Ronnie and Roxy breathed their last in first episode of 2017, following Ronnie’s wedding to Jack.

Roxy, under the influence of booze and cocaine, decided to take a dip in the venue’s pool.

When she got into difficulty, her sister dived in – wearing her huge dress – in an attempt to save her.

Both drowned.

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