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Emma Wilson & Sonia Sharma

EastEnders actress Natalie Cassidy speaks out as four stars axed from BBC soap

Actress Natalie Cassidy has spoken out about news that four stars are to be axed from EastEnders.

The 39-year-old, who plays Sonia Fowler on the BBC One soap, was asked about the decision by show producers to get rid of the characters in a huge shake-up that has stunned viewers.

Ricky Champ (Stuart Highway), Barbara Smith (Dana Monroe), Dayle Hudson (Peter Beale), and Kelsey Calladine-Smith (Jada Lennox) will be leaving Albert Square over the coming months in big storylines set to rock the soap, reports The Mirror.

Read More: Emmerdale's British Soap Awards speech sees cast break news of soap legend Andy Devine's death

While fans are disappointed by the news, Natalie said it was just how the TV industry worked and is the “nature of the business”.

“It’s soap. 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 entrance is a part of soaps. So it just is what it is,” she told Metro.co.uk at the British Soap Awards.

She said she was “so excited” to see what new executive producer Chris Clenshaw would bring to the long-running soap.

“Chris is a wonderful addition. He’s been with us before, he’s very passionate about the show, he loved it inside and out, seriously,” Natalie shared.

The beloved soap star, who has played Sonia since 1993, was relieved that someone who “loves the show as much as I do” was in charge.

“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,” she explained.

Chris was hired in November last year, as Jon Sen decided to step down, and according to Digital Spy, the newcomer has been working hard since January to shake things up.

“It's nothing personal to any of the cast going, it's simply a creative decision - for big storylines to happen you have to say goodbye to people, that's the nature of soap,” a source told the outlet.

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