Actress Danniella Westbrook is set to leave EastEnders by the end of the year – despite only just returning as Sam Mitchell.

“The BBC News website reports that the actress’ departure will come as her storyline ends.

Danniella was brought back to EastEnders for a specific storyline and a set amount of time only,” a show spokesman told the website.

However he denied speculation that the actress’ contract had been cut short.

“We are not going into the exact details as we don’t want to spoil the storyline for our viewers but Danniella’s contract has not been cut short – in fact it has been extended slightly,” he said.

“We have been thrilled with how Sam Mitchell’s return has been received with our audience and hope that they continue to enjoy her storylines over the next few months.”

According to The Sun, show bosses have confirmed that Westbrook is on a three month contract which will not be renewed – and that she will feature in an “explosive” storyline at the end of the year before leaving.

Westbrook reappeared in Albert Square on September 4, after her character returned from Brazil, where she had fled to after being implicated in the murder of Den Watts.

She has been away from the show for nine years, although Sam was played by Kim Medcalf during her absence. She left the soap in 2005.