EastEnders is to recast the characters of Ben Mitchell and Lucy Beale after the actors currently playing them leave the show.
Charlie Jones, 13, is to be replaced in the role of Phil’s troubled son, and another actress is to take over from Melissa Suffield, 17, as Ian’s devious daughter.
Last week, it was claimed that Walford chiefs were unhappy with Melissa’s ‘unruly behaviour’ away from the set.
An insider said: “They were both suited to playing younger versions of their characters but sometimes a higher level of experience is needed as their characters mature.”
Ben’s exit will be part of a plot involving his half-sister Louise, but the character will return to the show in the future, with another actor playing him.
Actor Charlie is said to be ‘inconsolable’ at the news.
The character of Lucy will remain in Albert Square, but actress Melissa will be replaced.
A show spokeswoman said: “It’s common practice to recast actors employed as children to take on more challenging adult storylines.”