Eastenders star Scott Maslen has announced that he is leaving his role as Jack Branning on the BBC soap.
The actor, who has played the character since 2007, will bow out of the role at the end of his contract this year.
Maslen said in a statement released today (February 24): "I've loved playing Jack, and who wouldn't want to work on one of the most successful British TV series, but I've been offered many other roles and just not been able to explore them in the past, simply because of time and commitments to EastEnders, and so now it feels like the time to tread a new path for a while".
"I've played Jack for five and a half years and had some fantastic storylines, but it's now time to have a break from him and try something different".
"I'm incredibly attached to Jack, his family and EastEnders, but as an actor I'd like to take on some new challenges for a bit. EastEnders is just incredible, it's phenomenally rewarding and I love working here, but now it's time to move on to pastures new."
EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman added: "Since October 2007, Scott Maslen has brought the wonderful Jack Branning to life on our screens. From Scott's heart-wrenching portrayal of a grieving father, to Jack's determination in the coming week to take on Phil Mitchell, the variety in Scott's material shows his fabulous range as an actor".
"Scott will remain on your screens until late in the year, and there is plenty more drama to be played out before his departure."