EASTENDERS SPOILER: HIMESH PATEL (TAMWAR) & MADDY HILL (NANCY) TO LEAVE 0 365

EastEnders fans are being hit with a double blow thanks to Nancy Carter (Maddy Hill) and Tamwar Masood (Himesh Patel) both leaving the BBC1 soap.

It is understood that the characters are to exit in the coming weeks, although show bosses are remaining tight lipped as to whether the former lovers will rekindle their relationship before leaving E20 behind.

Nancy will be seen reeling next week when baby brother Ollie is hospitalised after he suffers a seizure at home. But will she turn back to Tamwar for support as tensions rise in the Carter household?

Maddy Hill has been playing Nancy since January 2014, while Himesh Patel has been a regular as Tamwar since 2007.

Speaking about making the decision to leave last year, Hill said: “It was time for Nancy to take a break from her family and me from EastEnders after having a wonderful time working on the show.

“I was surrounded by a terrific team both on and off camera and I shall miss seeing them all on a daily basis, especially the fabulous Carter family.”

“After almost nine years with Tamwar, it’s time to bid him farewell and explore pastures new,” said Himesh Patel, who announced his departure alongside Maddy and revealed that he also made the decision last year.

“I’m looking forward to new challenges, perhaps on the stage or behind the camera. Whatever awaits me, I’ll miss my family at EastEnders immensely – they’ve watched me grow from boy to man and supported me every step of the way. It’s been a true privilege to work alongside them.”

Tamwar and Nancy’s exit scenes will air in the next few weeks.

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STRICTLY 2019: CHRISTMAS STARS REVEALED 0 76

Six of the most-loved Strictly contestants from previous series are returning to the dance floor for an all-star Christmas extravaganza special, coming to BBC One on Christmas Day.

This year the ladies set to sprinkle some Christmas magic on the dancefloor are Chizzy Akudolu, Debbie McGee and Gemma Atkinson.

Chizzy says: “I am so excited to be coming back to Strictly this year, and being able to get back on the dancefloor once again! I’m still the biggest fan of Strictly so it’s wonderful to be back with old friends, in front of and behind the camera, and hopefully some new ones for Christmas. Bring on the sparkle, and maybe an odd 10 – it is Christmas after all…!”

Debbie says: “I thought all my dreams came true two years ago when I was asked to do the series, but to be one of the rare people to be invited back to do the Christmas Special is the icing on the cake. I can’t wait to be back dancing with my Strictly family”.

Gemma says: “I had the absolute best time on Strictly and it completely changed my life so I am absolutely overjoyed to be returning to the dancefloor this Christmas with a new challenge, and of course to be back with the gang!”

The gentlemen set to rock the dancefloor are Joe Sugg, Mark Wright, and Richard Arnold.

Joe says: “I’m really excited to have a go on the strictly ballroom floor again this Christmas. Strictly feels like a home away from home for me so I will be giving it my best shot and ending the year on a high.”

Mark says: “It’s been a while since I was on the dancefloor but I’m very much looking to forward to dusting off the dance shoes for Christmas! I can’t wait to be back – let’s get going!”

Richard says: “I can’t wait to get back out on the dance floor and throw shapes beneath the glitter ball once again. I just can’t promise you’ll recognise them or that they’ll be in any particular order. What I can promise is that one of us will be a professional.”

Each of the six couples will perform a Christmas inspired routine in a bid to be crowned Christmas champions 2019.

Hosted by Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman, the show wouldn’t be complete without the festive foursome on the judging panel: Craig Revel Horwood, Motsi Mabuse, Bruno Tonioli and Head Judge Shirley Ballas.

The judges will be on hand to score each couple and spread some cheerful joy, yet it will be down to the studio audience to vote for which dancing duo will win the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special 2019 and lift the famous Silver Star trophy.

The professional dancers and pairings will be revealed in due course.

WILL BAYLEY LEAVES STRICTLY AFTER INJURY 0 96

Sadly, due to the injury sustained last week, Will Bayley is leaving Strictly Come Dancing.

Executive Producer Sarah James said: “We are so sad that Will is unable to continue on the show. He is an incredible and talented person who has brought us some unforgettable moments this series – in particular his powerful and moving Couple’s Choice routine. He will be greatly missed and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Will Bayley said: “I’m gutted my Strictly journey has had to come to an end. I’ve loved being part of the show, and am so grateful for the phenomenal support we have received. I want to say a special thank you to Janette for believing in me and giving me the confidence to believe in myself. The things we achieved, from our Couple’s Choice dance through to the lifts in our Salsa, will stay with me forever. I’ve had the time of my life.”

Janette Manrara said: “Absolutely devastated that Will and I will not be able to continue dancing. We made some incredible memories that I will never forget, and I am pleased to have shared them with such an inspirational person, whom I can now call a friend for life.”

Will and Janette will be on It Takes Two tonight from 6.30pm on BBC Two.