EastEnders actress Samantha Janus has been given time off from the soap following the sudden death of her father over the weekend.

The grieving star – who plays Ronnie Mitchell in the show – was supposed to film scenes this week but has been given time off after Noel Janus, 60, was found dead in his Brighton flat.

Mr Janus, a former singer-songwriter who split up from Samantha’s mother when the actress was six, is believed to have hanged himself.

It is unclear how long she will be away for, but show bosses are reportedly adjusting scenes so that her absence does not make too much of an impact.

“Our thoughts are with Sam and her family at this terrible time. We want her to take as much time off as she needs,” an EastEnders spokeswoman said.

Co-stars are said to have rallied round to fill the gaps in filming schedules.

A source close to the programme said, The Mitchell family are as close off screen as they are on screen, so they have all been saddened by the news.

“Barbara Windsor and Sam’s on-screen sister Rita Simons have both been in touch and are doing all they can to help her.”

The source added that everybody on the show “feels her pain”.