Actress will leave soap in autumn

Patsy Palmer is leaving EastEnders for a second time, it’s been announced.

The actress, 41, joined the soap as Bianca Butcher in 1993 and quit in 1999 before returning in 2008 but has decided to move on again.

Patsy is really sad to be leaving the show as she loves playing Bianca… but she knows it’s the right decision at this time in her life,’ a spokesman says.

Bianca‘s exit will be shown in the autumn but the BBC has confirmed that she won’t be killed off.

‘We are so sad that Patsy has decided to leave us, but completely understand that it’s the right time for her,’ the show’s executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins says.

‘There’s still a lot more to come from her on screen this year – and the door will be left wide open for her return.

‘We won’t be getting rid of Bianca‘s puffa jacket just yet.’

Patsy – who has three children with hubby Richard Merkell and also has a son from a previous relationship – is reportedly planning a move to the US to pursue new opportunities.

‘Not only is Patsy excited about future work in Hollywood, she is making the move for the sake of the whole family,’ a source tells the Mirror.

‘It is a lifestyle choice for them. She has lots of exciting offers lined up and feels the time is right to say goodbye.

‘Her children are at the age where they can be moved across to the States relatively easily. And it has always been her big ambition to crack Hollywood.’

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Anna Francis