EastEnders' Claudette Hubbard swapping Walford for the stage
Eastenders' actress Ellen Thomas is leaving Walford to take up a stage role in the latest departure to rock the soap.
Ellen, who has played Claudette Hubbard for a number of years, is swapping Albert Square for a part in theatre production The Hotel Cerise.
The production will run in October and November at The Theatre Royal Stratford East.
Fans of the soap were left disappointed by the news and paid tribute to Ellen on Twitter.
But the BBC has confirmed Ellen's role will be left open for a possible return.
A spokeswoman said: "As our regular viewers will know, Claudette has often been seen coming and going from the Square to visit her family and friends.
"This is the end of another stint for Claudette and we wish Ellen all the best for the future."
It follows the news earlier this month that popular Nitin Ganatra will quit as Masood Ahmed after nine years in the role.