Lacey Turner is leaving EastEnders, the BBC has confirmed.

Lacey will bow out of the BBC1 soap later this year after five years playing Stacey Branning, saying: “the time has come to try something different”.

Stacey’s on-screen mother Jean – played by Gillian Wright – will also be quitting the soap this year.

EastEnders new boss Bryan Kirkwood described Lacey as “one of the best young actress on TV at the moment” and said the door would be left open for the character to return in the future.

She said: “I’ve had the most fantastic time at EastEnders. Stacey has been a brilliant role – as has being part of the feisty Slater family.

“I’m so lucky to have had such challenging storylines, from the affair with Max and being diagnosed with bipolar, to the shock of being revealed as Archie’s killer during the live episode.

“I’ll miss Stacey and everyone in Albert Square but the time has come to try something different.”

In the five years she’s played Stacey, Lacey has won 28 top acting awards.

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