>EastEnders star Jo Joyner has decided to leave the soap for the foreseeable future.
The actress, who plays Tanya Cross, had originally intended to take an eight-month break from the middle of this year. However, after further reflection, she has now chosen to bow out from her role indefinitely.© BBC
Mum-of-two Joyner has made the decision as she wishes to spend more time with her family and explore new career opportunities.
Speaking of her choice to move on, Joyner commented: "I love playing Tanya and being part of such a great show, but she has been on quite a rollercoaster over the past seven years and I have come to realise that it's right for her to step away from Walford for a bit longer than originally planned.
"I have been very fortunate to have been part of some fantastic storylines over the years, and I have worked with some wonderful people during my time on the show which I will always be very grateful for, but I feel that as a mother and an actress it is time for me to explore some other avenues for a while."
EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman added: "As the mother of Lauren, Abi and Oscar and the on/off wife to the ever errant Max, life for Tanya has never been easy. However, Jo Joyner's portrayal of Tanya allowed viewers to instantly fall in love with her, creating the cement for a great family.
"Later this year we will see the Branning family cope without her. They will of course miss her, as will her colleagues and no doubt the viewers. We wish Jo well on her ventures new."© BBC
Show bosses are currently keeping tight-lipped over how Tanya will leave Albert Square, but her departure will mark the beginning of a new era for the Branning family.
A show insider told
Digital Spy: "EastEnders is a full-on commitment and on reflection, Jo felt that eight months may not be a long enough break to try her hand at other projects as well as spend the time she wants with her family, so both she and EastEnders decided to not put a time limit on her time away but to see where things go in the future.
"Although Jo will be missed, Tanya's departure will mean new changes ahead for the Branning family, which will add a whole new dynamic for them and the rest of Walford.
"Lorraine's long-term plans for EastEnders are now starting to really take shape and she has some very exciting things in store over the next few months, which are going to have the fans on the edge of their seats when they hear what's coming."
Joyner was cast in EastEnders in 2006. Since then, Tanya's turbulent relationship with Max has provided some of the show's most memorable moments in recent years.
Off-screen, Joyner won the 'Best Dramatic Performance' prize at the British Soap Awards in 2008 and 2012. Last year's ceremony also saw Joyner's work with co-star Jake Wood recognised as they won the 'Best On-Screen Partnership' gong.
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Source : http://www.digitalspy.com/soaps/eastenders/news/a469652/eastenders-jo-joyner-announces-departure-from-show/