Ronnie and Roxy met their watery death at the start of 2017

For an actor, it can’t be the greatest thing to hear that the character you play on a TV show is being killed off.

Effectively, you’re getting fired, but in a sweet way – and you have a couple of months to figure out what you’re going to get up to next…

This is an all-too-familiar situation for Samantha Womack and Rita Simons, as it was decided that their iconic EastEnders double act of Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell would be killed back in 2016 – and now, the reason behind the choice has been revealed…

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Both characters met their end on New Year’s Day 2017, by way of drowning in the hotel pool on the night of Ronnie’s wedding to Jack Branning.

Goodbye, girls (BBC)

Dramatic, eerie and quite unexpected, it’s certainly gone down as a soap death to remember.

With the twosome being so well-loved amongst fans, news of their departure came as something of a surprise. However, executive producer Sean O’Connor has explained the reason to say goodbye to the Mitchell sisters – and it’s because the characters were ‘exhausted’.

‘When Ronnie and Roxy burst onto the Square all those years ago, they were amazing,’ the show boss began.

‘But as they were so popular they were given a huge amount of plot.

‘By the time I arrived, the characters were exhausted.’

Oooh – a brutal take on the situation! However, soon after in his chat with Metro, he clarified that he’d prefer for the big characters to go in big style.

‘I felt it was fairer to Sam and Rita to say… “We’re going to make your exit a great one to remember.”

‘There was no way that the Mitchell sisters would leave in the back of a taxi.’

Fair enough – though we still miss them, it’s far better for Ronnie and Roxy to have gone with a bang rather than a whimper…