The first ever transgender actor on EastEnders will leave the soap – after just a year.
In 2015, 21-year-old trans actor Riley Carter Millington joined the soap as Kyle Slater, the first transgender character to be played by a trans actor in a British soap.
However, after a shake-up on the soap which has seen a number of fan favourites dropped, it was confirmed this week that Millington will leave in an upcoming episode.
He confirmed in a statement: “When I landed a 6 month contract at EastEnders it was a dream come true. For that to be extended to a year was something I never expected.
“However, as the time comes for Kyle to depart Walford I am looking forward to taking on new roles and who knows, Kyle may find his way back to Walford one day.”
Amid speculation that the show had struggled to find storylines for the character, a source told Metro: “Kyle’s storylines on the show came to a natural end for now.”
The soap was barraged with transphobic abuse when the character was launched, with one newspaper reporting it with the headline ‘It’s a gender-bender EastEnder!’.
Trans actress Annie Wallace also last year joined rival soap Hollyoaks as Sally St Claire.
Wallace recalled at the time: “Like most soaps, you get a six-month contract and they extend it as and when. But I’m in for quite a bit… We do have a few big surprises hopefully next year – so you’ll just have to watch!
“Hollyoaks originally wanted to just bring me in as a teacher and let people go,’Is she trans or isn’t she?’, because I look a certain way and it’s fine.”
She added: “But what happened was that EastEnders put out their big press release about Riley Millington.
“It was the week before my press release was about to be released, so our press office went, ‘We better make sure people know about Annie as well’. We announced it within 24 hours of each other.
“At the moment in Hollyoaks, I’m just the strict new headmistress – but things will unfold, as things unfold in the world of continuing drama.”