The latest stars to quit EastEnders as new boss promises 'dramatic' year ahead after Danny Dyer exit
DANNY Dyer's shock exit from EastEnders has been revealed as he becomes the latest big name to leave the soap.
The Mick Carter actor is following in the footsteps of Maisie Smith, Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood and Laila Smith as he pursues new opportunities outside of Albert Square.
But soap insiders say fans are in for a treat as the new executive producer Chris Clenshaw promises a "dramatic" year ahead.
And as the likes of Lacey Turner, Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie prove, there's always the possibility of an explosive return.
Big boss Chris started off his new job this week after first starting as a storyliner in 2015 before going on to script edit and story produce the London-set drama.
An insider told The Sun: "It's a really exciting year with the new executive producer taking over. He's planning some big, dramatic stuff.
"He’s been involved in some of EastEnders big moments so there's no way he'll let Danny Dyer go without giving him an explosive exit."
The source added: "People come and go, characters come and go. They have to for storyline purposes because it creates more drama within the soap.
"It also gives actors the chance to focus on other projects before coming back fresh to play a key part once again.
"The timings of when characters leave and come back again is always a mix between when is best for the actor and the show itself.
"The door will always be open for Danny."
It has been revealed that Danny is leaving the soap – and will take a new role in a drama for Sky.
An "explosive" storyline is in the works for his character Mick Carter before his shock exit.
However, before he goes Mick's wife Linda, who has bowed out after actress Kellie Bright went on maternity leave, is making her hugely anticipated return.
And viewers can look forward to many more dramatic scenes with the pair before Danny's departure.
A spokesperson for the soap explained tonight: “Danny will be leaving EastEnders when his contract comes to an end later this year.
"Danny has made Mick Carter an iconic character which we shall always be grateful for.
"However we won’t be saying goodbye just yet as there’s still quite some time – and plenty of explosive drama for Mick – to come before he departs Walford."
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STRICTLY Come Dancing star Maisie Smith has quit EastEnders after 13 years.
Maisie, who was six-years-old when she joined the BBC One soap in 2008, said: “It’s time to say farewell to Tiff! I’ve grown up on EastEnders since 2008, and have learnt from the best over the past 13 years.
“I’m very excited for my next challenge and thank the BBC for the opportunity they gave me as a six-year-old.”
EastEnders’ Executive Producer Jon Sen added: “We are all very sad to see Maisie leave.
“She’s been a wonderful company member during her time at EastEnders and it’s been a privilege to see her blossom into the star she is.
“She has created an iconic character in Tiff and the door is always open to her return.
“We wish her all the very best for her future projects.”
Insiders told The Sun Maisie, 19, chose not to renew her contract this month as she looked to pursue other opportunities.
After her stint on Strictly last year, where she was a runner up with pro dancer Gorka Marquez, Maisie had been offered six-figure sums to team up with beauty and clothing brands.
She's also replacing AJ Odudu in the upcoming Strictly arena tour.
EASTENDERS legend Adam Woodyatt has been on the soap for an incredible 36 years.
But the Walford resident was last seen on-screen a year ago after planning to take a break from the show.
He opened up on the real reason he made the shocking decision to leave the BBC soap.
Adam, aka Ian Beale, starred as Walford's resident baddie for 36 years before taking a break to do theatre work.
After leaving Albert Square in January, the 53-year-old ended up starring on I'm A Celebrity.
He revealed during his time in the castle that there have been no discussions about his return.
"I just had another opportunity, there was this play came up and I just fancied doing something different," Adam told his Castle co-star Frankie Bridge.
He then revealed the show's bosses had wanted his character to take a pause, which he saw as a chance to leave.
"The way the storyline went, they needed me to take a break and the breaks just got longer."
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On a return to Walford, Adam said: “To be honest with you, I don’t know the answer.
"And it’s also not just my decision, it’s a BBC decision. There’s lots of factors that come into it.
“I’m just taking it as it comes along. There’s no plan.”
Max Branning actor Jake Wood departed in February 2021 after 15 years on the programme.
He's one of the big names to leave, but it was actually EastEnders' decision to give his character a break.
The 49-year-old first appeared as Max in the BBC soap in 2006.
Jake said on Instagram: "After 15 years I will be leaving Eastenders at the end of this year.
"I have loved playing Max Branning who amongst other things in that time has had 4 marriages, 10 affairs, 4 children (2 dying from falling from the roof of The Queen Vic), been buried alive, watched unwanted DVDs at Xmas and perhaps most traumatising of all…shared a hot tub with Ian Beale.
"I have made some truly great friends whilst on the show and I’ll miss everyone there. I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what new horizons are around the corner.
"Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages this week, I appreciate the love and support."
Alongside the caption, Jake shared a shot of his ripped physique as he posed in a pair of shorts with a moody expression on his face.
Executive producer Jon Sen previously said in a statement about Jake's departure: "Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.
"We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out."
THE actress, who plays Big Mo, revealed she left in April 2021 and has ruled out a full-time return.
She has always been a character who comes and goes from the Square – giving the 76-year-old a chance to enjoy regular breaks.
Confirming she'll no longer be a permanent fixture on the soap, Laila said: "If they wanted me to go back for a one-off thing or a storyline lasting a couple of weeks I would, but I wouldn’t go back full-time."
In December she starred on Strictly: The Real Full Monty.
An EastEnders spokesman said: “Just like many occasions before, Big Mo will be departing Walford but as always she’ll no doubt be back in the not too distant future”.
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