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Two more to leave 'EastEnders'

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Ben Mitchell in Eastenders

© BBC

Two of EastEnders' youngest stars will be written out of the soap later this year, it has been confirmed.

Charlie Jones and Madeline Duggan - who have played Ben Mitchell and Lauren Branning for the last 4 years - will bow out of the Albert Square serial in the coming months as part of the soap's ongoing revamp under new executive producer Bryan Kirkwood.

According to the Daily Star Sunday, 13-year-old Jones had to be "consoled" by his chaperone after hearing the news that his 4 years with the soap would be coming to an end.

He has yet to film his final scenes, but his exit will allegedly have nothing to do with Barbara Windsor's departure as Peggy Mitchell in the autumn. It has been suggested that his final story will revolve around the climax of his hate campaign against Louise - or tie in with Lucy Benjamin's whistlestop return as Louise's mother Lisa Fowler.

Meanwhile, Duggan (below, right) - who has been notably absent from the show since her screen mother Jo Joyner left on maternity leave - has already filmed her final scenes as Lauren.

On Thursday, she was spotted filming on location with Joyner, who reprised her role as mother-of-two Tanya for a single episode. She is due to return to work full-time in the coming months, having given birth to twins.

An EastEnders source told the newspaper: "Charlie and Maddy are two very popular youngsters. So there were a lot of sad faces when everyone heard they were both leaving. They've both had their fair share of dramatic storylines and will be greatly missed.

"Ben's exit will be one of the biggest storylines of the summer. It's going to very dramatic and will have repercussions for months to come. Fans are in for a real treat with this one. Maddy has already filmed her exit. She was pretty emotional as she's very close to Jo, who plays her mum on the show."

They added: "But she's had a great time working on 'Enders and has everything going for her."

An show spokesperson confirmed: "Charlie and Madeline will be leaving EastEnders later this year. They have been a pleasure to work with and we wish them all the best for the future."

Before the end of the year, EastEnders is due to lose ten familiar faces, including Lacey Turner (Stacey Slater), Tiana Benjamin (Chelsea Fox), Gillian Wright (Jean Slater), Cliff Parisi (Minty Peterson) and Derek Martin (Charlie Slater).

Since taking the helm, however, Kirkwood has orchestrated the returns of favourites Kat and Alife Moon as well as signing former Footballers' Wives star Zöe Lucker. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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