Patsy has played the role of Bianca Butcher since she rejoined the BBC soap in 2008, having first originated the character - back when she was known as Bianca Jackson - in 1993.
A spokesperson for the actress said: “Patsy is really sad to be leaving the show as she loves playing Bianca and working with executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins but she knows it's the right decision at this time in her life.”
However with her final scenes not due to air until the autumn, viewers still have plenty of time to say goodbye to her character before she leaves Albert Square.
The soap’s executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has said: “We are so sad that Patsy has decided to leave us but completely understand it's the right time for her.”
He added that her character will not be killed off, explaining: “The door will be left wide open for her return. We won't be getting rid of Bianca's puffa jacket just yet.”
The Daily Mirror are reporting that Patsy made the decision to leave the soap so she could pursue a "once in a lifetime opportunity" in Hollywood, where she is planning to move with her family later in the year.
A friend told the newspaper: “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.”
During her time on the soap, Patsy’s character Bianca has become best known for her unusual fashion sense, her argumentative nature and, of course, shouting “Rickaaaaaaaay!” at her long-suffering husband.
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