BBC1’s EastEnders topped last night’s ratings with Lindsey Coulson’s departure as Carol Jackson.
Overnight figures show the Walford soap brought in 5.59m viewers at 8pm on BBC1 as Carol made the spontaneous decision to ride off into the sunset on Jim’s motorbike rather than moving to Milton Keynes. BBC3’s repeat screening added 317,000 at 10pm.
Lindsey, who first appeared in the long-running soap in 1993, told press that while it had been “fantastic” playing Carol, “the time was right to move on”.
Carol initially worked in the launderette alongside Pauline Fowler and her portrayal of the fiercely protective and feisty working-class matriarch quickly became a firm favourite with viewers. Lindsey had a break from the show after four years, before returning briefly in 1999 for a storyline that saw on-screen daughter Patsy Palmer’s exit as Bianca. She returned to Walford full-time in 2010.
Over the years Carol has seen her marriage to Alan Jackson (Howard Antony) break down and had romantic liaisons with the likes of David Wicks (Michael French), Dan Sullivan (Craig Fairbrass), Connor Stanley (Arinze Kene), Eddie Moon (David Essex) and Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra).
More recently, however, Carol’s focus has been on her health after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and her family after brother Max was arrested and later convicted of the murder of Lucy Beale.
EastEnders’ boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins, who previously expressed his delight that the actress had earlier decided to sign on for an extra year to play out the cancer storyline, said: “The door will always be open for Lindsey to return to EastEnders. The show has always been so lucky to have an actress of her calibre.”