Bonnie Langford left 'EastEnders' because there was "nothing much more" her character could do.

Bonnie Langford as Carmel

Bonnie Langford as Carmel

The 54-year-old star has swapped the East End for the West End after landing a role in musical '42nd Street', and she believes her character Carmel Kazemi needed to leave Albert Square for "a fresh approach" and to grieve following the death of her son Shakil Kazemi (Shaheen Jafargholi).

She said: "I was leaving anyway because I just felt with Carmel, there's nothing much more she can do.

"I didn't want her suddenly to become this jolly person who forgets about her son.

"All those people who go through such a terrible situation in their life of any kind are broken and scarred.

"She needs to move on for a while and get a fresh approach and grieve."

While Bonnie found it tough to switch off from playing distraught Carmel following Shakil's death, she felt so "lucky" to be able to return home to her 17-year-old daughter Biana after a day's filming.

She added to Express.co.uk: "You do immerse yourself in it quite a lot, but I realised how lucky I was to be able to go home to my 17-year-old daughter and how heart-breaking it would be if it was the other way round.

"I was trying to portray somebody who didn't have that joy, so I'm just grateful to tell that story and be able to say please try and change this."

Bonnie recently admitted the soap's tough schedule played a part in her decision to leave Walford.

She said: "In 'EastEnders', you don't know when you are going to be needed, you are on call all the time and don't know your availability until the Friday before.

"Silly things, like booking a dentist appointment, become impossible. That sounds like a stupid thing to have as an issue, but after a while you don't know where you are. I started to think I needed to come up for air a little bit.

"I needed to do other stuff, to get out there and feed that other part of my soul. You have to nurture the whole lot, otherwise you can't do your job properly."