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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 16:54 GMT
Hollyoaks star OB to leave soap
Darren Jeffries
Hollyoaks is Jeffries' first professional acting role
One of Hollyoaks' longest-standing cast members, Darren Jeffries, is to leave the popular Channel 4 teatime soap after 10 years.

Jeffries, who plays Sam "OB" O'Brien in the Chester-based drama, says he is leaving to pursue "new challenges".

His final scenes will be broadcast on 26 February 2008.

Hollyoaks producer Bryan Kirkwood said: "The challenge is on to give him as big and iconic an exit storyline that the character deserves."

He added: "I'm absolutely gutted by Darren Jeffries' decision to leave but I totally respect that after 10 years of being a character, he wants to move on to different things."

Jeffries said: "After 10 years on the show I now feel the time is right to move on.

"It was a difficult decision to make and I will be sad to leave Hollyoaks and the wonderful cast and crew, but I am equally excited about the new challenges that lie ahead.

"I want to say a big thank you to the wonderful Hollyoaks fans that have continually supported me".

For the last two years, Jeffries has been nominated for the best on-screen partnership award at the British Soap Awards, for his TV relationship with best friend Max Cunningham (played by Matt Littler).

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