Tamzin Outhwaite, who plays Mel, is leaving the soap to ‘pursue other challenges’.
Former EastEnders boss John Yorke lured Outhwaite back to the soap in 2017 but the actress had only intended to stay for a year. Having had no shortage of work in the years between her EastEnders stints, Tamzin has now confirmed that she is leaving the soap to once again “pursue other challenges”
She originally played the role of Mel between 1998-2002, featuring in a string of high-profile storylines during that time including being emotionally-blackmailed into marrying Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt), who she jilted at the reception over his lie that his daughter had cancer, and her love affair with bad boy Steve Owen (Martin Kemp).
“When John [Yorke] asked me to return to EastEnders back in 2017, I jumped at the chance to play Mel once more but it was only supposed to be for a year. That year quickly passed and I agreed to stay on for another, but now the time feels right to once again pursue other challenges.
“I will of course miss so many people here at EastEnders, and I will forever have good memories of my time at the show, but I am also excited to experience new roles outside of Walford.” – Tamzin Outhwaite
Mel returned to Walford in January 2018 on a mission to track down some money that had been stolen from her sister-in-law Ciara Maguire, with a number of Albert Square residents having been part of the heist.
The character’s storylines have since included reopening the E20 nightclub formerly run by Steve, looking out for her wayward son Hunter (Charlie Winter) and scheming against her bigamist husband Ray Kelly (Sean Mahon), which led to a violent woodland showdown in which Hunter shot dead his stepfather as he was trying to strangle his mum.
Mel and Hunter subsequently tried to cover up the crime, but putting their trust in Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) was their undoing when he had Hunter arrested. In recent weeks, Mel has been plotting to steal Jack’s money as revenge, but as Mel struggled with her conscience, Rainie Branning swooped in and took Jack’s money instead. Hunter is set to reappear in the soap in the coming weeks, but whether this will tie in with Mel’s exit remains to be seen.
“We are extremely grateful to Tamzin for reviving the character of Mel Owen back in 2017, allowing EastEnders fans the chance to see one of Walford’s most popular characters take centre stage once more. Tamzin is an incredible talent who has set our screens on fire with her wonderful performances in some of our most iconic storylines. We wish her the best of luck for the future.” – Jon Sen, Executive Producer
The Sun quotes an insider who notes that Mel will bow out of Walford in an ‘explosive final storyline’ this autumn.