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Sunday, November 22, 1998 Published at 15:58 GMT


Patsy Palmer to leave EastEnders

Patsy Palmer: Devoting more time to home life

EastEnders star Patsy Palmer is leaving the BBC soap to spend more time with her family.

The red-haired actress who plays Bianca Butcher will stop work next summer after five years in Albert Square. The BBC confirmed that the 26-year-old actress, who has a young son and recently married film producer Nick Love, has decided to focus her attentions closer to home.

But the BBC says the Bianca character will not be killed off. A spokesman said: "Bianca has always been an amazingly powerful character and the door is open to her if she wants to return in the future."

[ image: Ricky: On-screen husband]
Ricky: On-screen husband
Bianca's marriage to Ricky Butcher last year drew one of the biggest soap audiences ever with an audience of more than 22 million.

"She has been fantastic in the years she has been in EastEnders and we will miss her," said the spokesman. "But no-one is bigger than the show, which is doing extremely well at the moment. We will send her off with all our very best wishes."

He dismissed as "pure speculation" a report in a Sunday newspaper that the actress was leaving because she was planning to have a baby.

Love match

Patsy Palmer, whose seven-year-old son Charley was fathered by a previous partner, married Nick Love in East London four months ago.

Ms Palmer recently starred as a drug addict who has a baby in a 15-minute film called Love Story produced by her husband.

As Bianca, she first appeared on EastEnders in 1993 as a flighty teenager whose on-off romance with Ricky captivated millions of fans.

When Ricky found out about Bianca's affair with barman Lenny, he left her but the couple were reconciled in September and are expecting a baby.

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