Samantha Womack is leaving ‘Eastenders’ after nearly a decade on the BBC soap playing Ronnie Mitchell. According to The Sun, bosses have offered the actress the chance to go out with a bang in a dramatic exit storyline early next year.

Samantha WomackSamantha Womack is leaving ‘Eastenders’ after nearly 10 years as Ronnie Mitchell

Sources told the newspaper that the actress “jumped at the chance” to bow out of the show in a big way. “It was felt that with everything Ronnie has been through over the past nine years, it is now time to rest the character,” an insider said.

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“She already has a few projects lined up so she won’t be off screen for long.” Womack was offered the big storyline by new boss Sean O’Connor. It’s currently unclear wether the character will be killed off, or if the door will be left open for a return.

An EastEnders spokeswoman later confirmed the news, saying: “Samantha has created an iconic character in Ronnie Mitchell. However, she was recently offered a big storyline which she happily accepted that leads to Ronnie departing Walford. We wish Samantha all the best for the future.”

Ronnie Mitchell was introduced to viewers in 2007, along with her sister Roxy (played by Rita Simons). The sisters were the cousins of Grant and Phil Mitchell and the nieces of pub landlady Peggy Mitchell.

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Womack previously departed the soap in 2011, following a storyline which saw Ronnie being sentenced to three years in prison. She later returned to the show part-time in 2013, before coming back as a full-time character in 2014.