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EastEnders exits — who is leaving the soap and how will they leave?

EastEnders logo Queen Vic
How could these EastEnders characters leave the Square? (Image credit: BBC)

With the usual outrageous drama kicking off in Albert Square, it's no surprise to EastEnders fans how shocking the latest stories can be when they hit the headlines.

However, EastEnders sent shockwaves through its fanbase when it was announced that five major characters were being axed as part of a big soap shake-up. 

Here is our roundup of who will be leaving Walford in the coming months...

Who is leaving EastEnders in 2022?

It was recently confirmed that characters Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ), Dana Monroe (Barbara Smith), Peter Beale (Dayle Hudson) and Jada Lennox (Kelsey Calladine-Smith) were being written out of the soap.

EastEnders star Danielle Harold, who plays fan-favourite Lola Pearce is also rumoured to be leaving the soap as part of an explosive soap shake-up, which could see her character killed off. 

The cast axing is part of new executive producer Chris Clenshaw’s plan to restructure the show with a number of dramatic twists over the summer.

Another one to add to the list is Danny Dyer, who confirmed that he'd decided to leave the show after playing Mick Carter for nine years. He promised that his exit would be 'huge' and 'epic' and that it could see him killed off.

With no confirmation on how or when they'll exit the soap, here are our theories of how each Walford resident could say their farewell to the Square...

Stuart Highway

Ricky Champ as Stuart Highway

Ricky Champ as Stuart Highway. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Stuart Highway has been at the forefront of some major storylines recently.

Last year, Stuart received the devastating news that he had breast cancer and was hiding the diagnosis from his wife, Rainie (Tanya Franks).

He eventually told her the heartbreaking news, but refused to have treatment as he was terrified that his pain killer addiction would return.

Stuart is currently going through chemo, however he has since been suffering with postnatal depression after the birth of his son Roland and has been struggling to bond with him.

Recent episodes have seen Stuart reach breaking point and give Roland back to his biological mother Bernie Taylor (Clair Norris), which left Rainie devastated.

With Stuart no longer able to cope with fatherhood and having a breakdown, his exit will most likely result in him fleeing Walford and leaving Rainie behind with the baby. 

But will Rainie get Roland back? Could the grief of losing her husband be too much for her to cope with as a single mum?

Dana Monroe

Dana Monroe in EastEnders

Barbara Smith as Dana Monroe.  (Image credit: BBC / Jack Barnes)

Dana Monroe first entered the Square in 2021 and had been in a relationship with Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) until they split up after her brother, Aaron (Charlie Wernham) was sent to prison for planting a bomb at the Argee Bhajee.

Barbara's co-star Ross Boatman, who plays her on-screen dad Harvey, has since revealed how Dana will exit the soap.

Talking to Digital Spy (opens in new tab) on the red carpet of The British Soap Awards, Ross was asked how he felt about his on-screen daughter leaving and teased that her exit could see her return at some point in the future.

"Sad. She's not necessarily going forever. Her character is going off to university. I feel sad to see her go. I think she's a great addition to the show, but obviously, the people up top have got their reasons.

"I'm sure eventually she'll come back to the fold, hopefully,” he said.

Last year, Dana deferred her place at university to stay in Walford and look after Harvey who was struggling at the time.

Now, it seems Dana is going on to new things and will seize the opportunity to study nursing at university.

Peter Beale

Dayle Hudson as Peter Beale

Dayle Hudson as Peter Beale. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Peter Beale made his comeback to the Square in 2020 and has proved to be quite a successful businessman as he juggles his dad, Ian Beale's (Adam Woodyatt) many businesses.

Recently, Peter was attacked by his uncle Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) after Ben had mistaken him for someone else.

Now that he's discovered that Ben was the assailant, he has demanded that his grandmother Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) report Ben to the police.

Unbeknownst to Peter, Kathy has been supporting Ben after he was raped by Albert bar manager Lewis Butler (Aidan O'Callaghan), so refused to do what Peter asked and even threatened to disown him if Peter went to the police himself.

Meanwhile, Peter has been hinting at feelings towards his brother Bobby's ex-girlfriend Dana while she has been working at Walford East.

As Bobby has been trying to get Dana back, it seems like Peter is hiding his true feelings for her. But with both Dana and Peter leaving the soap later this year, could this mean that Peter leaves with Dana as she goes off to university?

Or maybe the stress of his family could bear too much for him and he's forced to take a break from his turbulent family.

It's possible that he could even tell the police about the attack, which could result in Kathy disowning her grandson, making him have no choice but to leave.

Either way, we don't think that Peter will be killed off and he could return in the future like he has many times before (and probably recast!).

Jada Lennox

Kelsey Calladine-Smith as Jada Lennox

Kelsey Calladine-Smith as Jada Lennox. (Image credit: BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron)

Jada Lennox made her explosive entrance to Walford in 2021 and dropped the bombshell to Sharon Watts (Letitia Dean) that Dennis Rickman Jr. aka 'Denny' (Bleu Landau) was the father to her baby daughter Alyssa.

After discovering that Alyssa was her granddaughter, Jada and Alyssa moved in with Sharon, who has been helping support them ever since.

As to how she could exit the soap, there are many possibilities that could lead her to say farewell to the Square.

Although he has never appeared in the soap, Jada was living with her dad, Sonny prior to moving in with Sharon. Could something happen to Sonny that requires Jada to move away and look after him?

With Jada currently working as a hairdresser at Denise Fox's (Diane Parish) hair salon, it could also be possible that, like Dana, Jada could move on to bigger things and be offered a new dream job that requires her to relocate with Alyssa.

But, could Jada leave Alyssa behind? If she did, this could be an open return for Jada to come back in the future to visit or take back Alyssa.

Lola Pearce

Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold)

Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce. (Image credit: BBC / Kieron McCarron)

After it was revealed that Lola Pearce would be axed from the soap, rumours have now been circulating that Lola will tragically die from a brain tumour.

According to The Sun (opens in new tab), the upcoming storyline will see Lola rekindle her love for ex-boyfriend Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) before her cancer takes over and he nurses her until her heartbreaking end.

The devastating scenes are set to have viewers "in pieces" and soap bosses have been working alongside a brain tumour charity to handle the subject with "grace and care."

An Albert Square insider told the publication: “EastEnders are desperate to make headlines and drive viewing figures with explosive plotlines, and Lola’s exit will have diehard fans in bits. It will be a compulsive watch."

Single mum Lola first stepped onto the Square in 2011 and has been involved in a number of major storylines ever since, including getting pregnant with her daughter, Lexi (Isabella Brown) at age 15.

She then left in 2015, but returned in 2019 and has been a series regular ever since.

Mick Carter

Mick Carter learns shock news

Danny Dyer as Mick Carter.  (Image credit: BBC)

Mick Carter first stepped onto the Square on Christmas Day in 2013 as the head of the Carter clan and later became the notorious landlord of The Queen Vic.

He has become one of the much-loved characters of EastEnders and a staple addition to the soap for the last nine years.

Appearing on BBC Radio 2’s Breakfast Show back in March, Danny said to host Zoe Ball: “We’ve just been pitched my leaving storyline. It’s going to be epic. It’s huge.”

Mick has made a huge impact on the Square and it only seems right that he gets a dramatic send-off, telling The Sun (opens in new tab): “There’s been a discussion about what we’re gonna do. I might be killed off, I might not.

“I just want to go out in a huge, epic way. I don’t want to be in the back of a cab.

“I don’t want a heart attack because of high cholesterol. I want to go out and I want to get people talking about it. So, yeah, it’s gonna be huge.”

With Mick now dating villain Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks), who has a proven track record of killing her husbands, could Mick be the next victim to add to her hefty list?

Could Mick want to get back with his wife Linda (Kellie Bright) and Janine gets revenge by bumping him off?

EastEnders Mick and Janine

Could Mick meet his grisly demise at the hands of Janine? (Image credit: BBC)

Janine famously pushed her husband Barry Evans (Shaun Williamson) off a cliff, could she mirror this action by possibly pushing Mick off the roof of The Queen Vic? This would certainly be a dramatic exit for his character.

With the Carter family reducing one by one, another theory could be that he moves away to be with his kids, who have moved to different places over the years.

Most recently, fans were stunned by the abrupt and unexpected exit of Mick’s daughter, Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill) last week after just one year of her returning to Walford.

Now that the Carter family are seemingly at war with the Mitchell's, could he and Walford hardman Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) come to blows and end with Mick meeting a grisly end? It's known throughout soap history that if you get on the wrong side of Phil, you'll probably end up dead!

Although this is unlikely, it could also be a funny twist if we saw Mick go off to work for West Ham football club due to him being a massive West Ham supporter. Could football be the only thing that would tear Mick away from his beloved boozer?

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Grace Morris
Grace Morris

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides for must-watch shows and the latest TV news. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.


You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series and much-loved soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.