EastEnders star Natalie Cassidy reacts to soap axing five stars ‘You need people to exit’

Natalie Cassidy says she’s ‘in a real pickle’

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Natalie, who has played EastEnders favourite Sonia Fowler for almost 30 years, issued her verdict on the BBC’s decision to axe some of her co-stars during an interview at the British Soap Awards. The 39-year-old actress frankly said characters need to exit and new ones need to enter Albert Square in order to get good stories. 

The London-born actress was just 10 years old when she arrived in Walford as Sonia.

While the character has spent periods of time away from the soap, Sonia made a full-time return in 2014 where her storylines have included a rocky divorce, a cancer scare and coming out as bisexual. 

The actress appeared on the red carpet on Saturday for the British Soap Awards where she addressed her co-stars being written out of the soap in a move which has stunned fans. 

Stuart Highway (played by Ricky Champ), Dana Monroe (Barbara Smith), Peter Beale (Dayle Hudson), and Jada Lennox (Kelsey Calladine-Smith) will be leaving Albert Square over the coming months along with Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold).

Natalie admitted “it is what it is” as she was probed about the casting changes. 

“It’s soap,” she told Metro.co.uk. “It’s what happens. To get good stories, you need people to exit and you need people to come in. 

It’s just the way of the show. Exits and entrances are a part of soaps. So it just is what it is.” 

While many soap fans have been left disappointed by the axing of characters, Natalie stated it is “the nature of the business”. 

However, Natalie hoped her well-loved character would not be leaving the BBC One soap anytime soon. 

The star stressed how Sonia is “part of the fabric of the show” and she hopes the character “will always stick around”.

Natalie also revealed she was “so excited” to see what new executive producer Chris Clenshaw would bring to the show. 

She gushed: “He’s been with us before, he’s very passionate about the show, he loved it inside and out, seriously.

“So for me, I just always want someone who loves the show as much as I do. 

“It’s just lovely to be in a place where we’re starting afresh.

“I’ve watched the show go through many different sets and different times and this is just another one and I’m really excited.”

Away from the soap, the actress often shares updates on her social media pages about her personal life and her eldest daughter Eliza Beatrice Cottrell.

Natalie revealed she was “the proudest mum alive” when Eliza took part in the Junior Great British Bake Off at the tender age of 10. 

She penned alongside a picture of her daughter when she entered the competition last year: “Her confidence, determination and maturity have blown me away.

“I am proud of my daughters every day. But to watch one of them be so kind and helpful to others in the tent every night this week has made me the proudest mum alive.”

EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays on BBC One at 7.30pm. 

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