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Last Updated: Monday, 7 August 2006, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Richard 'quit soap over wedding'
Wendy Richard in EastEnders
EastEnders veteran Richard has battled breast cancer in recent years
Actress Wendy Richard has revealed she chose to quit BBC soap EastEnders after producers made her character remarry.

"I didn't think it was right," she told the Sun newspaper. "I work by instinct and have to believe what we're doing."

Richard has played Pauline Fowler for nearly 22 years and is one of just two cast members who have been in the BBC One programme since it started in 1985.

"I just couldn't believe Pauline would remarry," she is quoted as saying. "I made myself ill fretting about it."

Richard denied there was any tension between her and actor Ray Brooks, who plays Pauline's new husband Joe Macer.


However, she admitted she finds their scenes harder to perform than those she shared with former on-screen husband Bill Treacher.

"I don't think there is the chemistry there that I had with Bill," she said.

"I've had a lot of people come up to me and say, 'You should never have got married.'"

The former Are You Being Served? actress, who will leave Albert Square this Christmas, said she was sad to leave the show but that "life has to go on".

"I'm not retiring, I'm just leaving EastEnders," she said.

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