EastEnders - PortraitsEastEnders star Patsy Palmer is quitting the BBC One soap.

The 41-year-old actress has played the role of Bianca Jackson on and off since November 1993.

“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.” – Spokesperson for Palmer

The mother of four is reportedly planning a move to Los Angeles with her family to pursue new opportunities.

EastEnders’ Executive Producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins has promised that there is still lots more to come for Bianca who won’t be departing Albert Square until the Autumn.

“We are so sad that Patsy has decided to leave us but completely understand it’s the right time for her. Bianca won’t be leaving Albert Square until the autumn so there’s still a lot more to come from her on screen this year – and the door will be left wide open for her return. We won’t be getting rid of Bianca’s puffa jacket just yet.” – Treadwell-Collins

Palmer originally portrayed Bianca between 1993 and 1999 with the character taking centre-stage in a number of major storylines during that time. From finding out that David Wicks (Michael French) is her father after making a pass at him to her turbulent romance and marriage to Ricky Butcher (Sid Owen).

Emotional scenes aired in 1997 saw Bianca terminate her first pregnancy after learning that her unborn child was suffering from Spina Bifida. She later exited the Square in shame after it was revealed she had been having an affair with her mum Carol’s (Lindsey Coulson) boyfriend Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass).

Ricky and Bianca had been so popular with viewers that the BBC decided to give them their own spin-off show which aired in 2002. The two episode endeavour saw Ricky track Bianca down to Manchester where he found her struggling to make ends meet. Their Manchester exploits saw them end up in hot water after Bianca stole money from shady nightclub boss Vince (Craig Charles).

Palmer reprised the role of Bianca on a permanent basis in 2008, returning to the soap as part of a controversial storyline tackling child sex abuse. The plot saw Bianca horrified to discover her partner Tony King (Chris Coghill) had been abusing her step-daughter Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty).

Later storylines saw her reunite with old flame Ricky and to commemorate EastEnders’ 25th anniversary a special DVD ‘Last Tango in Walford’ was released focusing on their on-off relationship. In the main show the couple tied the knot for a second time but wedded bliss was not to last and Bianca called time after finding out that Ricky had cheated on her with Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton). More recently, Bianca has been struggling to cope with her mum Carol’s cancer.

EastEnders airs Monday (8.00pm), Tuesday (7.30pm), Thursday (7.30pm) and Friday (8.00pm) on BBC One.

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