EastEnders icon quit BBC soap because of ‘boredom’ and rules out return

EastEnders legend Jo Joyner has revealed the real reason behind her shock exit from the BBC One soap.

The actress, 46 played the iconic Tanya Branning on the long-running soap soap on and off between 2006 and 2018.

As the wife of infamous womaniser Max Branning (Jake Wood) Tanya was a part of several hard-hitting storylines, such as the iconic 2007 Christmas Day episode and trying to bury her ex-hubby alive.

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But after her turbulent marriage to Max came to an end, Tanya left the famous square in 2013 to start a new life in Exeter.

Although she briefly returned in 2018, fans are keen for Jo to make a return to the soap – but she has ruled out a comeback and has revealed the real reason she quit.

Speaking to The Sun, she said: “As soon as you got bored of one thing, you got a different thing, a new adventure.

“That was very much the reason to come back out and I’ve been lucky to do the same thing since, to mix things up. Variety’s the spice of life."

Speaking about the explosive Christmas Day episode back in 2007, Jo gushed over the “great writing” and “investment in stories and characters.”

She explained: “We had a rain machine, maybe, and apart from that we just had the actors on one set so that was quite unusual. It shows that without good writing, it’s all nothing."

Since she left the show, Jo has gone on to appear in a slew of BBC series including Ordinary Lies, Sky’s Mount Pleasant, Shakespeare and Hathaway: Private Investigators.

Most recently she announced her exit from the high school comedy-drama series Ackley Bridge after three series on the show in the role of secondary school teacher Mandy Carter.

She is also set to team up with Hollyoaks babe Rachel Shenton for new emotional thriller on Channel 4 called For Her Sins.

The synopsis teases: "We see Laura led down an increasingly dangerous path as Emily nurtures Laura’s neuroses about her ability as a mother, fuels tensions in her marriage and reignites an old flame from Laura’s past.

"But Laura is hiding something too… and these two women are bound by a shared secret, one they have both tried to keep buried. But nothing stays a secret forever."

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