EastEnders fans have been dealt a new blow as it's been revealed another big character is to be written out of the BBC One soap – just days after Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell, played by Sam Womack and Rita Simons, were confirmed to be leaving next year.
Now it's the Carter family who are losing someone; Lee, the son of Queen Vic owners Mick and Linda, will bow out "in the coming months" – and viewers have been left asking: "Who's next?"
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Lee Carter, played by Danny-Boy Hatchard, will be "written out" of the soap
Danny-Boy Hatchard, who plays the volatile ex-squaddie, has been involved in some big storylines since joining the show in 2014, including Lee's battle with depression and more recently the news that he's expecting with fiancé Whitney Dean.
According to reports the exits are part of a shake-up planned by new executive producer Sean O'Connor, who took over from Dominic Treadwell-Collins earlier this year.
The ex-squaddie is having a baby with Whitney Dean
A show source told The Sun on Sunday: "This was a tough decision but sometimes to create big storylines characters need to come and go. Sean's arrival has bought massive changes to EastEnders, no least in the decision to exit Ronnie and Roxy. Others are now looking around and wondering who could be next to walk."
Although details of all three exits are shrouded in secrecy, it has been confirmed Ronnie and Roxy will leave together in an "explosive" plot that will build up over the coming months.
Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell will leave the show at some point next year
Speaking shortly after it was revealed Roxy would leave with Ronnie, a spokesperson explained: "Having joined the show in 2007, Rita immediately won the hearts of the audience in the role Roxy Mitchell and between her and Samantha Womack they have created one of the most iconic duos EastEnders has ever seen.
"Alongside Samantha, Rita was recently offered to take part in the same big storyline that will see the Mitchell sisters depart Walford, but we will not be releasing any further details at this time."