Fergison's 'top secret' soap exit
Cheryl Fergison is set to leave EastEnders in a dramatic "top secret" storyline, it has been revealed.
The 47-year-old will be waving farewell to Albert Square in 2012, after five years of playing the George Michael-obsessed, Alice band-wearing cheese fanatic Heather Trott.
"I've had a wonderful time at EastEnders - it's been a privilege to be part of such an amazing programme and working alongside a fantastic group of people. I'm really excited about exploring new opportunities," she told the soap's official website.
Soap bosses have not said whether Heather will be killed off or whether the door would be left open for a future return.
"Heather's character has been hugely popular over the years, but the decision has been taken to cut her out of the show before viewers tire of her," an insider told the Daily Mirror.
"Cheryl will leave when her contract comes to an end, but it's set to be a dramatic exit which will see the character go out with a real bang."
The source added: "The storyline details are being kept firmly under wraps, but it will be a fitting end for a character after nearly five years."
Chery, who joined the BBC soap in 2007, decided not to extend her contract.
The character was originally planned as a guest role, but proved so popular with viewers that she became a full-time cast member. She has been involved in major storylines, most notably becoming pregnant by schoolboy Darren Miller following a one-night stand.