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EastEnders fans left devastated after soap says goodbye to long-term character in emotional but 'stunning' episode

(Image credit: David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)

The character has been a popular addition to the show...

EastEnders fans were left heartbroken following last night's episode, as the show bid farewell to one of its best-loved characters.

Tuesday night's instalment of the soap saw Carmel Kazemi, played by Bonnie Langford, say her goodbyes to Albert Square, after making sure that Keegan Taylor learnt a lesson about using knives.

Carmel says goodbye

Of course, Carmel heartbreakingly lost her own son, Shakil, earlier this year, to knife crime. And in the latest episode, she attempted to show Keegan the consequences of using a knife, after he wielded one in the street earlier in the week.

A grieving Carmel went to extreme measures, convincing Keegan that he had killed someone with his activities. And after being overcome with guilt, the youngster went to the police station to hand himself in.

However, the truth eventually came to light, when a police officer assured Keegan that no one had been killed on the day he claimed to have committed the crime.

Returning to confront Carmel, she revealed that she had been trying to make him think about his past actions.

She said, ""You went to knife him - you wanted to kill him. I wanted you to know how that feels. I wanted you to suffer."

She then packed up her bags and headed towards a black cab, making a decision to leave the East End after a devastating year.

But it seems the pair managed to reach a comfortable place of acceptance at the end of the episode, with Carmel making it clear to Keegan how devastating knife crime can be.

In a poignant message referring to her son Shakil, she told him, "Most precious gift in life, your child. You have to treasure it.", before leaving in her taxi.

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Viewers of the soap were floored by the emotional and meaningful episode, with many sharing their hopes that it makes an impact on knife crime in real life.

One said,  "Stunning episode to say goodbye to Carmel with a strong message about the huge devastation caused by #knifecrime Fitting legacy to Shakil, Carmel & Keegan."

While another said, "Some very powerful performances tonight..a very fitting farewell."

And a third commented, "Last night was very powerful and very moving. Good on you Bonnie"

Many fans also flocked to social media to praise 54-year-old Bonnie for her performance in the episode, and her contribution to the soap during her three years starring in it.

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One fan said, "Very sad to see you go, you've been fantastic and each story line you've been in you've been immense. Never stop....thank you for Carmel x"

And another wrote, "She will be missed! @bonnie_langford’s exit will leave a permanent Carmel-shaped hole in the Square😢💔I hope she can return in the future😎❤️ #EastEnders @bbceastenders".

Bonnie herself thanked fans for their kind words - and also revealed that she's moving on to theatre work in her next role.

She wrote on Twitter, "Thanks for all the incredible support for Carmel, especially the #knifecrime storyline.💔 I am truly humbled and grateful. Massive thanks to all the team @bbceastenders for being so utterly amazing. I’ve left the square but moved to the street @42ndStreetLDN !! 😘🤩 xxx".

Were you sad to see Bonnie go - and what did you think of her final storyline?