24/06/2017 08:46 BST

'EastEnders' Boss Sean O'Connor Quits With Immediate Effect

He's leaving Walford effective immediately.

After a tough first year in the job, ‘EastEnders’ boss Sean O’Connor has announced he’s stepping down from his soap role.

He will be ending his tenure as the BBC soap’s executive producer with immediate effect, with former show boss John Yorke stepping in to take over the reins until a permanent replacement can be found.

Sean said in a statement: “I’ve had an amazing time at ‘EastEnders’. Working with the editorial staff, cast and crew at Elstree has been an absolute privilege. They are the kindest, most loyal and hard-working team in the business.”

Sean O'Connor

Following his exit, Sean - who previously looked after ‘The Archers’ on BBC Radio 4 - will be working on feature film ‘Handsome Brute’ with Mark Gatiss.

He continued: “My heart lies in feature films and I’m hugely excited as my film projects are now reaching production. When the BBC asked me to take over at EastEnders, my plan was to stay until the end of 2017 but with production starting on these films sooner than anticipated, I must – with a heavy heart- bid farewell to Albert Square.

“I’ll enjoy watching EastEnders go from strength to strength but will miss everybody enormously. Elstree really is a place where you make friends for life.”

BBC Pictures
The Queen Vic will have new ownership soon

During his short stint at the helm of ‘EastEnders’, the soap has seen a decline in viewing figures, as well as a number of decisions that have rubbed fans up the wrong way, most notably the choice to kill off Ronnie and Roxie Mitchell over the festive period.

This twist was also criticised by a number of people close to ‘EastEnders’, including former executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, and Peggy Mitchell actress Dame Barbara Windsor.

Photo gallery EastEnders: Where Are They Now? See Gallery