EastEnders star Adam Woodyatt is taking a break from playing Ian Beale after 27 years.

Ian is set to go AWOL after suffering a mental breakdown, but EastEnders bosses have promised he will return to Albert Square, The Daily Mirror reports.

Fish and chip shop owner Ian, who has been struggling with financial problems and issues with his family, is set to marry girlfriend Mandy Salter. But it has been revealed that a ‘mental blow’ will tip him over the edge and he will disappear from Walford, leaving his family distraught.

Executive producer Lorraine Newman said: “Adam puts in a fabulous performance as a man teetering on the edge of a breakdown, who finally spirals when delivered a catastrophic blow by someone close to him.”

Adam, 43, will be off screen for at least six weeks, one of his longest breaks in 27 years.

Meanwhile, EastEnders bosses have denied reports that Shona McGarty is leaving the show.

The 20-year-old actress, who plays troubled teen Whitney Dean, sparked speculation she was moving on when she told The Daily Star: “I love Motown music and singing has always been a passion of mine. It’s a real dilemma as I love acting, but I also want to sing. I want to do something with music.”

But an EastEnders spokesperson said: “There is absolutely no truth in the report that Shona has quit EastEnders.”