'EastEnders' actress Gillian Wright is to wave goodbye to Albert Square after playing troubled Jean Slater for the last eight years.
Gillian has told show bosses that she wants to focus on theatre work.
But the door is being left open for a possible return in the future as Jean Slater will not be killed off when she leaves the soap in October.
According to The Sun, Jean's departure will be linked to her romance with newcomer Ollie and will see her agonising over whether she should tell him about her bipolar disorder.
A source told the paper: “Show bosses have been preparing the groundwork for her departure by developing the storyline with Ollie.
“The pair become close but Jean has been hiding her bipolar disorder as she is worried about the impact it will have on their relationship.
“She’s really fallen for him but is paranoid that he won’t want anything to do with her if she tells him the truth.”
Gillian first appeared on 'EastEnders' in 2004 as a guest actress before joining the cast full-time three years later.
Speaking about her decision to leave, Gillian said: “It has been a huge privilege to play Jean Slater these last eight years.
“I treasure the viewers’ care and love for the character — not only through her hard times but through all the laughter too.
“I will miss EastEnders enormously but it is time for me to step back and enjoy other acting challenges.
“I would love Jean to return to The Square one day, so let’s hope this is not goodbye but au revoir!”
This week the BBC announced that show boss Lorraine Newman is to leave the show after just 16 months in charge. Her departure comes as the BBC soap's viewing figures fell below 5 million.
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