Jo Joyner quits as EastEnders' Tanya Cross - 'It's right to step away,' she says

Jo Joyner quits as EastEnders' Tanya Cross - 'It's right to step away,' she says

Jo Joyner has quit her role as Tanya Cross in EastEnders and will leave the soap indefinitely later this year.

The actress - who plays Tanya Cross in the BBC soap - has extended her planned eight month break from the show this year to indefinite leave so she can explore other projects.

She said: "I love playing Tanya and being part of such a great show, but she has been on quite a rollercoaster over the past seven years and I have come to realise that it's right for her to step away from Walford for a bit longer than originally planned.

"I have been very fortunate to have been part of some fantastic storylines over the years, and I have worked with some wonderful people during my time on the show which I will always be very grateful for, but I feel that as a mother and an actress it is time for me to explore some other avenues for a while."

Joyner - who has three-year-old twins Freddie and Edie with husband Neil Madden - joined EastEnders in 2006 as the wife of Max Branning (Jake Wood). Her character, a mother of three, has had a turbulent love life in the soap, seeing her divorce Max, date his brother Jack (Scott Maslen) and marry Greg Jessop, only to then have an affair with Max again.

The characters had planned to re-marry on Christmas Day last year, but it fell through when it then merged Max had secretly married Kirsty Branning (Kierston Wareing).

Paying tribute to Jo, executive producer Lorraine Newman said: "As the mother of Lauren, Abi and Oscar and the on/off wife to the ever errant Max, life for Tanya has never been easy.

"However, Jo Joyner's portrayal of Tanya allowed viewers to instantly fall in love with her, creating the cement for a great family. From Jo's portrayal of a cancer sufferer's fear to dealing with her daughter's excessive drinking, Jo has delivered high-class drama time and again.

"Later this year we will see the Branning family cope without her. They will of course miss her, as will her colleagues and no doubt the viewers. We wish Jo well on her ventures new."

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