The character Michelle Fowler appeared in the very first episode of EastEnders in 1985

EastEnders star Jenna Russell has denied reports that she was axed from her role as Michelle Fowler in the BBC1 soap.

The 50-year-old actress said that she simply fancied doing something different after it was revealed on Sunday that her character would be leaving the show.

The Olivier Award-winning stage star, who has appeared in the West End and on Broadway, posted on twitter: “Just for clarity, I wasn’t ‘axed’ just fancied doing something else.”

An EastEnders spokeswoman said: “Jenna is a terrific actress who has loved her time on the show playing Michelle and it was a mutual decision to write the character out.

“We wish Jenna all the best for the future.”

Jenna arrived in Walford as Michelle on Christmas Eve 2006. On taking the role, Jenna told The Mirror: “It took me quite a few days to get how I felt about it. I know the audience loved her and, even though she hasn’t been on our screens for over 20 years, she is still an iconic character in the fans’ psyche. That scared me but sometimes it’s good to be scared.”

Michelle was of course originally played by Susan Tully, who decided she didn’t want to return as the character.

Michelle Fowler appeared in the very first episode of EastEnders in 1985 and was a huge character until her departure in 1995. During Michelle’s first stint in Albert Square she had a child with “Dirty” Den Watts as a teenager, a daughter Vicky, and a son, Mark Junior, with Grant Mitchell after a one-night stand. Plus she was also a victim of a shooting!