EastEnders actor Danny Dyer has broken his silence on his surprise decision to leave the BBC soap.
It recently emerged that the soap star, who has played Albert Square’s Mick Carter since 2013, would be stepping down from his role later this year – a career move that has left fans gutted.
But 44 year old Danny has opened up about why now is the right time to branch out, as he said he’d miss playing Mick enormously but there was still plenty more to come in the coming months.
Speaking on his hit podcast Sorted with the Dyers alongside daughter Dani Dyer, Danny explained: “I am leaving EastEnders. I'm very lucky, I'm very grateful.”
He continued: “When you're in a job like a soap, your contract comes up for renewal and every time it has they've asked me to stay, and I'm very grateful for that. Because I've seen a lot of people come and go. It's very tough.”
Danny, who stars alongside the likes of Kellie Bright and Charlie Brooks, then said that while every other year he has automatically signed again, this time felt different.
The dad of three said: “I always debate whether I want to sign again and I've been contemplating a while now about whether it's time to roll the dice, take the leap.”
He added: “The big news is I've decided not to renew my contract. That's all.”
“That's not because I've fallen out with anybody, I love everybody. That job has been amazing for me. It's an important part of television.
“I'm grateful for the beautiful years I've had there. I'm going to miss the people massively. It's me taking a risk.”
The popular actor went on to describe his sadness at his exit, but promised fans a very “special” exit storyline that is guaranteed to be gripping.
He teased: “It'll be a sad year for me, but I'm also very excited about it. So we're going to attack this year, and we're going to make this year a f***ing special one.”
Touching on what he plans to do afterwards, Danny denied reports he’d been poached by another channel and instead said he wants to see what is out there.
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He explained: “I'm 44 now, and I've had nine years of playing Mick and I think he needs to be rested.”
The fan favourite concluded: “It does give me a weird feeling to think I'm walking away from a job that's been a massive part of my life. But it had to be done, and it was definitely the right time."
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