The real reason why Patsy Palmer is leaving EastEnders again as Bianca

EastEnders Bianca Butcher
(Image credit: BBC/Dan Goldmsith)

Bianca Jackson’s return to Albert Square has been a huge hit with fans but actress Patsy Palmer has revealed why she can’t stay on the soap.

It’s safe to say that Bianca Jackson’s return to the Square this week was as outrageous as her neon animal print outfit. The first view we got of Bianca was on a police cell bed, nursing a banging hangover next to partner-in-crime Kat Moon after the pair were arrested for being drunk and disorderly in EastEnders!

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The Walford favourite hasn’t been seen on our screens since 2014. She left to live in Milton Keynes with partner Terry Spraggan, later letting her teen daughter Tiffany Butcher move down south to live with auntie Sonia Fowler.

EastEnders Bianca and Tiffany

Bianca tries to make things up to daughter Tiffany (Image credit: BBC / Kieron McCarron)

Since then, Bianca has pretty much been AWOL, with both Tiff and her stepdaughter Whitney Dean out of contact with her. Tiff, in particular has been upset with her mum's lack of support. As a surprise for Whitney, however, Sonia arranged for Bianca to be there for Whitney’s wedding to Callum Highway.

In real life, after quitting the Square five years ago actress Patsy Palmer moved to the US with her husband Richard Merkell and their family. She agreed to come back to EastEnders for a short stint for Whitney’s wedding storyline after her agent got the call.

In a behind-the-scenes EastEnders special on ITV’s This Morning, Patsy confessed that she might have returned to Walford for an extended time if it hadn’t been for personal reasons.

“I wish I could stay longer, I was intending to stay longer. But it’s my daughter’s birthday and she’s 18, so it’s a bit of a big one. That was mainly the reason. It wasn’t for anything else, really, just that I have to be there for her for her birthday.”

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When Patsy was asked if she was thinking about coming back to the Square as a more permanent fixture, she teased, “Who knows? Maybe!”

This week, Bianca has admitted a secret to Kat, revealing that she’s already spent some time in jail. Although exactly why is being kept under wraps. She also has a lot of making up to do to Tiffany for not supporting her while Tiff was being abused by the gang.

“Viewers will learn in the coming weeks why Bianca’s been so quiet and what’s been going on,” Patsy has promised.

EastEnders continues on BBC1

Rachel Lucas
Forward Planning Deputy Manager

Rachel is a soaps and TV writer for, soaps podcaster and resident soap expert for UK TV listings magazines What's On TV and TV Times. After graduating with an art and design degree from Birmingham City University, she found her true calling in all things soap and has been writing about them for magazines and websites for over 20 years. A self-confessed soap addict, she's always had a great love of all the UK and Aussie soaps and owns everything from a Neighbours 1990 Annual to a DVD box set of classic Corrie episodes to prove it.