Bonnie Langford will leave 'EastEnders' this autumn.

Bonnie Langford

Bonnie Langford

The 53-year-old star has announced she will depart her role as Carmel Kazemi in the BBC One soap after three-and-a-half years in Albert Square, and is delighted to have been involved in such "powerful and poignant" storylines.

She said in a statement: "I've had a wonderful three-and-a-half years at 'EastEnders' and it's been a privilege to be part of such an iconic show.

"My storyline has been such an incredible experience and I'm honoured to be part of something so powerful and poignant.

"However, I've known since the beginning of this storyline it would always lead to Carmel having to take a break from Walford."

Bonnie only initially penned a six-month deal with the BBC to play Carmel but impressed soap bosses so much she was kept on, and the former 'Doctor Who' star has teased there is still "plenty more to come" from her character.

She said: "I'm not leaving just yet, there's still plenty more to come from Carmel."

Bonnie has put in a host of incredibly emotional performances of late after Carmel was left devastated when her son Shakil Kazemi (Shaheen Jafargholi) was tragically stabbed to death.

Shakil's funeral episode played out last week, featuring relatives of real-life victims, and the actress admitted the addition of true stories to the already-powerful ep added "real gravitas" to the hard-hitting storyline.

She told BANG Showbiz: "To put the special true-life contributors in there, I think adds real gravitas. To show we're not trying to sensationalise something so serious.

"Let it speak for itself, let these people tell you because there's nothing more truthful and heart-breaking to see than that. It's been done with so much authenticity and integrity.

"After meeting the people, I felt more responsible and determined to get this as accurate and emotionally meaningful as possible. I felt really honoured to be a part of it.

"It was a jump into the unknown. When they told me I found it intriguing and exciting, but it was a strange dividing line and I wondered how we would separate art from real life."