Lorraine Newman leaves EastEnders

Lorraine Newman

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EastEnders' executive producer Lorraine Newman has decided to leave the soap after 16 months in charge of the show.

She joined the drama as a script secretary at the age of 19 and is the first executive producer to occupy every editorial role on the programme.

She has also been involved in some of the most-watched storylines on British television in recent years including 'Who Shot Phil?', 'You Ain't My Mother!' and the Olympic Torch episode.

The soap won a Bafta award this year and currently draws around 7 million viewers.

Characters return

Ben Stephenson, controller of BBC Drama commissioning, said Newman had been "responsible for some of the most memorable moments in the history of EastEnders".

Newman commented: "I have loved every moment of my time at EastEnders but it is finally time to leave Walford."

She added: "Over the past year, I have also had the pleasure of planning and implementing the revival of many of the EastEnders clans who should always be at the heart of the show."

The soap has already announced that Michael French (David Wicks) and Samantha Womack (Ronnie Mitchell) will return this autumn. Barbara Windsor, who played Peggy Mitchell, will also make a one-off appearance.

Future plots include a car crash involving Phil Mitchell.

30th anniversary

Newman will now join the Series and Serials section of BBC Drama Production.

She will be replaced by Dominic Treadwell-Collins, who returns after a three-year stint at production company Lovely Day.

His first TV job was on ITV's Midsomer Murders. In October 2005, he joined EastEnders as senior story editor, before becoming story producer the following year.

He also created the characters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell, and Shirley Carter, and oversaw storylines such as Whitney's abuse and Syed Masood's struggle to reconcile his Muslim faith with his homosexuality.

Treadwell-Collins said: "You never really leave EastEnders - and for the past three years, the characters have all stubbornly stayed in my head."

He added he was looking forward to "taking this iconic and essential show into 2014 and beyond, as we look to EastEnders' 30th anniversary in 2015."

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