Natalie Cassidy – who is best known for playing nurse Sonia Fowl in EastEnders – has spoken out after five actors are to be axed from EastEnders causing a major shake-up.

It has been revealed that Danielle Harold who play Lola Piece will be the first to go, along with Stuart Highway actor Ricky Champ, Barbara Smith (Dana Monroe) and Dayle Hudson (Peter Beale), and Kelsey Calladine-Smith, who plays Jada Lennox.

The news has left many EastEnders fans devastated but Natalie Cassidy has just said exits are a part of the business.

She told on the red carpet of the British Soap Awards: "It’s soap. It’s what happens.

"To get good stories, you need people to exit and you need people to come in. It’s just the way of the show. Exits and entrance is a part of soaps. So it just is what it is."

The long-time soap star added that she is excited about the new chapter for the show and all the new faces joining.

She said: "I’m so excited! [New boss] Chris [Clenshaw] is a wonderful addition. He’s been with us before, he’s very passionate about the show, he loves it inside and out, seriously."

The fan-favourite said it was important for her to have someone behind the scenes who loves the soap as much as she does, adding it feels like they're starting fresh.

The 38-year-old first appeared in Walford in 1993 and has been a regular face in the square since.

Last year, Natalie revealed she was "the proudest mum alive" as she gushed over her eldest daughter who had taken part in the Junior Great British Break Off.

She penned alongside a snap of her 10-year-old: “This is Eliza. She was 10 and decided to enter for the Junior Bake Off.

"I said, oh Eliza, you’ll never get through, thousands apply and I don’t want you to be disappointed. She got through.

“Her confidence, determination and maturity has blown me away. I am proud of my daughters everyday. But to watch one of them be so kind and helpful to others in the tent every night this week, has made me the proudest mum alive."

Natalie went on to explain that her being on Bake Off had "nothing to do with me whatsoever" which is why she hasn't "said much about it".

She concluded: "My advice to all. When your child wants to do something don’t stop them. Dreams do come true."

Natalie is mum to Eliza with her former boyfriend Adam Cottrell and also Joanie with her husband and EastEnders cameraman Marc Humphreys.

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