8 July 2011
Last updated at 07:16
Actress Pam St Clement, who has played Pat Evans for more than 25 years, is to leave EastEnders later this year, the BBC has announced.
The 69-year-old, who is one of the longest-serving stars of the BBC One soap, said leaving the show would be like "a bereavement". Pat's friendship with Peggy Mitchell (left) was sometimes problematic.
Best known for her bright make-up and dangly earrings, Pat started out as harsh and brazen, but has become a matriarch and firm shoulder to cry on for many Albert Square residents.
Pat has been engaged in many relationships over the years, including an affair with her ex-husband Frank. She married more than once during her time in Walford, including in 1996 when she tied the knot with Roy Evans, played by Tony Caunter.
Her turbulent relationship with Frank Butcher (pictured) involved many dramatic scenes over the years. Their relationship sometimes included some comical moments, including the scene when Frank knocked on her door and was naked, except for a bow tie round his neck.
There were darker days for Pat though. In 1993 she was sent to prison for six months after a jury found her guilty of causing a girl's death by drink driving.
Pat has had a lot of family living with her on Albert Square over the years. When she married Frank she became step-mother to his children - Diana, Ricky and Janine. Diane left Walford in 1991, but Ricky and Janine remain nearby. In 2008 the family came together to pay their respects at Frank's funeral.
Pat's relationship with step-daughter Janine has always been fractious. A recent run-in saw Pat speculate that Janine had murdered her grandmother in a bid to inherit her money.
It has not been disclosed how Pat will exit EastEnders. John Yorke, controller of BBC drama production, said her character had been "integral" to the success of the soap.