Shock soap exits – celebrities who’ve surprised fans by quitting including Charley Webb

Over the years we've seen many soap characters come and go, but there's been certain departures which have definitely shocked us more than others.

From Emmerdale's Aaron Dingle to Coronation Street's Sophie Webster, there's been several soap exits which have taken us by surprise.

Most recently, it was revealed that Danny Dyer would be stepping down from his EastEnders role later this year, with fans of the hit BBC One soap devastated by the news.

As we look set to lose another much-loved soap character, here we take a look through some of Coronation Street, EastEnders, and Emmerdale's most shocking exits over the years…

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Danny Dyer

Danny Dyer shocked soap fans recently when he announced he would be leaving EastEnders in 2022.

The 44 year old actor has portrayed much-loved pub landlord Mick Carter on the hit soap for nine years, with Kellie Bright starring as his on-screen wife Linda Carter.

Danny is set to leave Albert Square behind later this year, with soap bosses promising that 'explosive storylines' are in store for Mick.

Speaking about the actor's departure, an EastEnders spokesperson told OK!: "Danny will be leaving EastEnders when his contract comes to an end later this year.

"Danny has made Mick Carter an iconic character which we shall always be grateful for, however we won’t be saying goodbye just yet as there’s still quite some time – and plenty of explosive drama for Mick – to come before he departs Walford."

Danny also addressed the reasoning behind his decision to leave EastEnders on his podcast Sorted With The Dyers.

Speaking on his podcast which he does with daughter Dani, 25, he said: “There's no big story around it, really. Other than the fact I've decided to go off and try some other stuff.

"I'm 44 now, and I've had nine years of playing Mick and I think he needs to be rested. I'm still looking for that defining role. Maybe it is there, maybe it isn't.

"But I've always been quite ambitious, and I had quite a long career before I went into EastEnders.

"I know the landscape has changed slightly but I want to go out there and have another go, and the only way I can do that is if I decide to walk away from the job.”

Brooke Vincent

Brooke Vincent first appeared on our screens as Sophie Webster back in 2004, when she took over the role from actress Emma Woodward.

Brooke, 29, took on some dramatic storylines during her time on Coronation Street, and in 2019 she left the soap on maternity leave.

Sophie's final scenes aired in October 2019, with the character heading off to Columbia.

The actress welcomed her first child, a son named Mexx, with partner Kean Bryan that same year.

However, just two months before her return date, Brooke found out she was expecting her second child, prompting her postpone her return to the cobbles.

In May 2021, Brooke and Kean welcomed their second son, Monroe.

While it was believed that Brooke would make a return after her maternity leave had finished, it's recently been revealed that the actress has no plans to return to Corrie.

A source told The Sun: "Everyone thought Brooke would be coming back to the soap but her contract ended two years ago and there are no talks about bringing her back on.

‘She is loving being a mother of two young boys and plans to be a fulltime mum most the time.’

Charley Webb

Soap star Charley Webb starred as Debbie Dingle in Emmerdale for 19 years.

The actress, 33, has been absent from the ITV soap since the start of 2021, with her character currently living in Scotland.

Charley had never addressed her departure, until reports began circulating recently that she'd quit the soap for good after her husband Matthew Wolfenden, 41, was reportedly embroiled in a race row, which he has denied.

An insider previously told The Sun: "Charley is closing the door on Emmerdale for good and won’t be going back.

"The past few months have given her time to think about the future and it is one that doesn’t involve Emmerdale. Matthew being caught up in the row on set fuelled her decision to step away."

The actress has since addressed the claims, revealing on Instagram that she 'never felt the need' to announce she'd left.

One of her followers asked: "Have you left Emmerdale?", with Charley replying: "This is always my most asked question but I've never answered it before because I've never wanted to make a big deal of it.

"I left to have Ace 2 years ago. I went back at the end of last year for 10 weeks to complete a storyline.

"So, I guess officially it's been a year. I never felt the need to announce it which is why we didn't."

Maisie Smith

EastEnders star Maisie Smith revealed she was leaving the BBC One soap in 2021, after portraying Tiffany Butcher since 2008.

Maisie, 20, had grown up on the soap and took on some explosive storylines as the daughter of Ricky Butcher and Bianca Jackson.

Tiffany decided to jet off to Germany at the end of 2021 to join her dad Ricky and brother Liam, turning her back on Walford and husband Keegan Baker.

The star announced her departure in a statement released in October, saying: "It’s time to say farewell to Tiff! I’ve grown up on EastEnders since 2008, and have learnt from the best over the past 13 years.

"I’m very excited for my next challenge and thank the BBC for the opportunity they gave me as a six-year-old."

Michelle Keegan

Michelle Keegan found fame as barmaid Tina McIntyre on Coronation Street, having landed the role back in 2008.

Michelle, 34, portrayed Tina for six years in total, and during her time on the soap she featured in many hard-hitting storylines.

However, in 2013 she announced she was ready to quit Corrie in the hope of pursuing other acting opportunities.

Michelle made her last appearance in June 2014, and Tina was killed off in shocking scenes.

Addressing her exit at the time, Michelle said: “I have had the most amazing six years at Coronation Street and it was such a difficult decision to leave.

“But I felt it was the right time for me to make the next step in my career. I will miss Tina and will always be grateful to ITV and Coronation Street for giving me such an amazing role to play for my first ever acting job.”

Danny Miller

Danny Miller first appeared on-screen as Aaron Dingle back in 2008.

The actor, 31, starred in Emmerdale for 13 years in total, becoming one of the soap's most memorable characters.

However, in 2021 Danny revealed he'd decided to quit the soap as he looked to take on new challenges.

He took part in I'm A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here! in November 2021, and while in the castle his final scenes aired.

Danny's decision to take part in the ITV show also played a part in his decision to quit Emmerdale, with the actor revealing: "I’ve always wanted to be a dad, and I’m now blessed with Albert and Steph and I’m in a position, when I was offered this show, to be able to try and see what else is out there and see where else my career path leads me."

"And if it doesn’t, the money that the show gives you means that, if anything, I’ll just have the year off – me, Albert and Steph.

"And for the sake of sacrificing three weeks, he won’t remember but I certainly will. It was a decision that made me think, 'Well, I’m going to do it because of the security it will give us in the future'".

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