Actor Steve John Shepherd is leaving EastEnders after three years with the BBC soap.

Shepherd, who plays Michael Moon, will be written out in what The Mirror describes as "a nailbiting plot twist".

Shepherd said of his years playing Michael: "I feel now is the time to move on. I have relished every minute of exploring his character — the good and the bad.

"I feel extremely privileged to have had this amazing experience and want to thank everybody — most importantly the fans of the show — for taking Michael and his numerous flaws into their hearts."

EastEnders producer Lorraine Newman said: "The audience will enjoy the dramatic end.

"With the return of Janine (Charlie Brooks) this month, expect plenty of fireworks."