Following the news that Jake Wood had decided to leave Albert Square behind and quit his EastEnders role for good, we got to thinking about other stars who had done the same in pursuit of making it big elsewhere. Though many people have tried - and failed - to get to the top, there are also those who absolutely smashed it.
Here, we take a look at five actors who decided to quit their soap jobs and strive for something more, becoming household names in the process!
Born in Blackpool, Lancashire, audiences first saw Jenna Coleman after she was chosen to play Jasmine Thomas in Emmerdale. On the show, she received critical acclaim for her acting skills, and spent four years as a series regular before picking up a role in Waterloo Road.
With her sights set on something more, it didn't take long for the big wigs to start selecting her for roles that would define her future, from Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, to the titular Queen Victoria in ITV's long-running period drama.
Next year, we'll see her star in new series The Serpent, and we imagine there are a whole host of other roles she's auditioning for that would be lucky to have her!
From Oldham, Greater Manchester, Ricky Whittle took up modelling in college and became the face of Reebok in 2000, before making his acting debut in 2002 in Sky 1 series Dream Team. After leaving that show, he moved on to Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, where he spent four years before his character Calvin Valentine was killed off in 2010.
At the time, he said he wanted to give American television and film a try, hence his leaving the series, and it turned out to be the best decision he could have made. He got his US breakthrough, starring in The 100, Mistresses and American Gods. We can't wait to see where he ends up next.
Many know her as the DC Worlds' Harley Quinn, but Margot Robbie actually got her acting break in a little soap called Neighbours. She would spend four years in the series before moving to America, quickly picking up a job in ABC drama Pan Am and then making her major breakthrough in Martin Scorsese's film, The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).
Since that point, we've seen her portray disgraced figure skater Tonya Harding, Queen Elizabeth I and even Sharon Tate on big screen releases. Robbie is undoubtedly one of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now.
Recently having his EastEnders character recast, Ben Hardy doesn't look to be wanting to make a return to the Square after leaving back in 2015. Hoping to make a name for himself in the States, he did exactly that, picking up a role in X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) as Archangel, before moving into the biographical film Bohemian Rhapsody in 2018, as Queen drummer Roger Taylor.
At just 29-years-old, he's got a lengthy career ahead which will surely see him continue to propel himself into superstardom.
Hailing from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, Nathalie Emmanuel began her acting career in theatre, before moving onto an on screen roll as Sasha Valentine in Hollyoaks. From 2006 to 2010, she would delight viewers across 191 episodes, but it was in 2013 when she really got people talking as Missandei in Game of Thrones.
Since that point, she's starred in the movies Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious, as well as Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Maze Runner: The Death Cure. Next year, we'll see her in F9, and we can't wait to see if she'll be joining the rest of the film's cast in space!
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