EastEnders star Clair Norris taking a break from her role as pregnant Bernie Taylor

EASTENDERS star Clair Norris is taking a break from her role as pregnant Bernie Taylor.

The actress will temporarily leave the soap in upcoming weeks as part of a major storyline.

It had been claimed by the Mirror that rumours had been circling about Clair's exit from the show.

However a source has told The Sun that the exit has always been the plan.

"Bernie's exit is part of a dramatic storyline and has been known for months.

"Bosses know it will keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

"Clair remains a member of the cast and will return to filming soon."

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Viewers have watched this week as surrogate Bernie has become increasingly concerned about handing over the baby to Rainie and Stuart Highway.

Recovering drug addict Rainie has been behaving dangerously erratic since ex Max took baby Abi away with him.

She had threatened the Carters over Linda's secret about Max being their new baby's biological father.

Rainie even went as far as the plaster the Square in posters saying Max was the father – and in retaliation Mick Carter told the Taylors Rainie was using drugs again.

It sparked a bitter confrontation between Mick and Stuart – with the former agreeing to say it was a mistake as long as Rainie left them alone.

The confrontation saw the Carters flee the Square, though it has been made clear that his first lies were still believed.

And now Bernie is terrified of handing the child over and will demand a drugs test from a horrified Rainie.

It is not yet known how Bernie will exit the Square.

An EastEnders spokesperson declined to comment.

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