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'EastEnders' Ronnie "couldn't go further", says Samantha Womack

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Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders

© BBC

Former EastEnders star Samantha Womack has said that her character Ronnie Branning left the soap at the right time, claiming that the troubled blonde "couldn't go any further" following her string of dark storylines.

The actress announced her decision to bow out from the BBC drama at the beginning of the year, and viewers recently saw her final scenes as Ronnie was jailed in the climax to the show's tragic baby swap plot.

Other hard-hitting stories featuring Ronnie had included the death of her long-lost daughter Danielle and her disturbing history with evil dad Archie.

Asked by The Observer whether she was glad to leave Ronnie behind, Womack replied: "I wouldn't say I was glad. Ronnie had had her time, she couldn't go any further. She had so much trauma that it wouldn't have been believable to put her through any more, I feel.

"It's a very hard thing to do - you get very comfortable being in regular employment, and I'm a jobbing actor again, and that's quite scary. I feel grateful to have had the experience but I'm glad to be moving in another direction."

Although Womack recently signed up for the stage role of Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, the 38-year-old dismissed suggestions that she is seeking a break from television jobs.

"I'm just trying to mix up the characters - the form in which they come is not important," she said. "Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders was so withdrawn and secretive and dark, so Nellie - with her open quality and hick-style delivery - was a challenge I really wanted to take on."

Womack first appeared in the role of Ronnie in the summer of 2007.

> Samantha Womack: 'I cried every day for two years at EastEnders'
> Read our EastEnders spoilers and news

Watch Ronnie's memorable EastEnders moments in the video below:

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