Eastenders star Patsy Palmer has revealed she is quitting the soap following the birth of her second child and has spoken of her upset at the recent controversial cot death storyline.
The actress, who first played feisty Bianca in the BBC soap in 1993, told Hello! magazine she will not be renewing her contract as she wants to spend more time with baby Bertie, who she gave birth to seven weeks early in December.
“I’ve just finished my contract with Eastenders and I’ve decided I don’t want to be tied to anything,” she said.
“I just want to spend as much time with Bertie as I can and enjoy every minute with him.”
She also added to the controversy surrounding the show’s recent cot death baby-swap plotline, telling the magazine it had upset her eight-year-old daughter Emilia.
Patsy said: “Emilia adores her new baby brother and she couldn’t believe something like that could happen. She kept sobbing and saying ‘please don’t go back there mummy.’ I had to calm her down and explain that it wasn’t for real, that it was all pretend.
“It affected me too, especially after having Bertie, so I can imagine how other mums must have felt.”
Her departure is set to be a major blow to the soap. Bianca is one of their best-loved characters, having re-joined the cast in 2008 after an almost decade-long break.
Although she stopped short of linking her decision to quit the show with the recent outrage over the storyline, it is rumoured to have caused massive divisions amongst the cast and crew.
Actress Samantha Womack, whose character Ronnie Branning swapped her dead newborn baby with a neighbour’s healthy child, announced her plans to quit earlier this month and the show’s on-set screenwriters are reported to be in revolt.