Danny Dyer is to quit EastEnders later this year, the soap has confirmed.
The actor – who joined the cast in 2013, playing Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter – is not leaving imminently, with “plenty of explosive drama” for his character before then.
A spokeswoman for the soap said Dyer, 44, has not been blocked from other projects and denied reports suggesting the BBC show is in a crisis ahead of his departure.
According to a friend, the decision was not taken “lightly” by Dyer, who feels the “time is right to explore other roles”.
Here is everything you need to know.
When will he be leaving?
EastEnders said: “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. ”
A friend of Dyer’s said: “Danny loves EastEnders but as an actor he feels the time is right to explore other roles.
“He’s incredibly grateful to the show and the opportunities it has given him, and it wasn’t a decision he took lightly, but after playing Mick for nearly nine years he feels it’s time to give the character of Mick a rest.
“He’s not sure how they are going to write him out yet but he’s hoping that they leave the door open for Mick.”
An EastEnders source said: “Danny made the decision quite some time ago that he would leave the show this year, which has given bosses plenty of time to plan a huge storyline for him.”
The source added Dyer’s character will be “at the heart of some big drama” with the return of Kellie Bright’s character Linda Carter this year.
‘A f***ing a***hole of a year’
In December, Dyer reminded people due to spend Christmas alone that it is “just another day” and urged them to be kind to themselves if they are feeling lonely.
The EastEnders star and his daughter, Dani, discussed the pressures of the festive season and the difficulty of being without family on their podcast Sorted.
“There’s so much pressure to make it perfect, but when all is said and done Christmas is just another day of the year really. It’s a roast,” he said.
“As it’s the one day where we should all spread a bit more kindness, spread that kindness to yourself as well, because it has been a f***ing a***hole of a year.
“We’ve all gone through this s*** together and we hope that you do get to do whatever it is that makes you happy this Christmas, whatever it is, because we are all important.”
Former Love Island winner Dani suggested people on their own take time to pamper themselves.
“I feel like sometimes … I know it’s not Christmas day with the whole family, but I have days alone … (but) you just have to look at it as just another day,” she said.
“It can get lonely of course but you can just watch a film, watch a box set, eat some food, have a bath, pamper yourself.”
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