Fans devastated over Jo Joyner's exit from Ackley Bridge

Series four returned to Channel 4 this week

Ackley Bridge is back for series four and fans have been loving the all-new antics and storylines at the academy. The new episodes have been airing nightly on Channel 4, but many have already binged the series thanks to All 4 making the boxset available.

And it seems it was an emotional moment for viewers watching headmistress Mandy Cater, played by Jo Joyner, wave goodbye to the show.

Taking to social media, viewers expressed their sadness at seeing the character's exit. One person wrote: "Goodbye, Mandy Carter! Such a shame that we'll probably never see her in Ackley Bridge again. Mandy will be missed! Yet another incredible character to add to @dollyjoyner's portfolio #AckleyBridge."

MORE: Ackley Bridge star Jo Joyner reveals reason she's set to leave show

Jo is leaving the show during series four

A second person said: "We love you Mandy I am so sad to see her go she will be missed," along with a string of crying-face emojis. A third echoed this thought, writing: "I can't believe Mandy left I'm so sad," as a fourth tweeted: "Cannot believe Ms. Mandy Carter has left the show like that."

Jo, who's also known for her role in EastEnders, has been part of the show since the beginning but her character took maternity leave during the previous series.

MORE: Ackley Bridge fans have one complaint about new series

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The actress recently opened up about her reasons for leaving the Channel 4 comedy-drama, admitting it was "time to move on".

Jo told the ITV's Lorraine this week: "I felt similar to how Mandy feels in this series really... It was great to be a part of at the very beginning and to set up, but now that it's up and running and it knows what it is and the kids own it all, it's time to move on."

She added: "We've got some great new young kids… It's always hard to move on. I think loyal fans who have been with us for three years might be like, 'Oh, who are these people? Who's coming in now?' but that's the nature of a school drama. The kids grow up, they leave, and we get a whole flux of new brilliant people on board."

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