Kiehling sad as Aleks quits Walford
Roxy Mitchell said goodbye to her Latvian lover, Aleks Shirovs, in last night's episode of EastEnders.
After 16 months in the show, the council inspector escaped Walford in proper soap fashion - in the back of a cab with just one suitcase - amid fears that his dodgy dealings in the market were about to come back and bite him.
Actor Kristian Kiehling said that while he is "very sad" to see his character leave, there are already "hints" that he may return to the BBC soap.
"It was a mutual decision - we just couldn't agree on the terms for a new contract, so we decided it was best to end it there, but with the back door open," he said.
The 38-year-old German-Latvian actor received a positive response to his portrayal of an Eastern European character.
"A lot of people approach me on the streets from an immigrant background. I remember a father of a child talking to me about a scene in which my daughter was being bullied at school and he related to it.
"I was really glad that I seemed to be taking part in a political and social debate in British homes."
Kiehling would like to have seen the soap take Roxy and Aleks to Latvia.
"There was once a discussion about them going on a holiday to Latvia together," he said. "Going to Latvia with the BBC crew would have been great to show the people where this character came from and what Latvia actually is.
"You always have the Polish builders and the cafe workers in shows and they always have a silly accent and they get on your nerves - seeing where they live would have been beautiful for all sides."
There are no confirmed plans for Kiehling to return to the show.
For now, he is swapping Walford for Malta to help raise money for Migrant Offshore Aid Station.
The humanitarian organisation tackles the problem of African and Middle Eastern migrants drowning in the Mediterranean Sea while attempting to reach Western Europe.
"I'm so angry Europe is so rich and people are drowning on our doorstep," said Kiehling.