EastEnders star Scott Maslen has revealed that he will be leaving the soap to pursue other opportunities.
The 41-year-old actor, who has played Jack Branning in the BBC soap for almost six years, will make his exit from Albert Square later this year.
"I've loved playing Jack and who wouldn't want to work on one of the most successful British TV series. But I've been offered many other roles and just not been able to explore them in the past, simply because of time and commitments to EastEnders and so now it feels like the time to tread a new path for a while," he said.
"I've played Jack for five and a half years and had some fantastic storylines but it's now time to have a break from him and try something different. I'm incredibly attached to Jack, his family and EastEnders, but as an actor I'd like to take on some new challenges."
Scott - who has been named sexiest male at the British Soap Awards for the past four years - added: "EastEnders is just incredible, it's phenomenally rewarding and I love working here but now it's time to move on."
Executive producer Lorraine Newman teased that there will be more drama for the Brannings, despite Scott's upcoming departure.
"Scott will remain on your screens until late in the year and there is plenty more drama to be played out before his departure," she said.