Danielle Harold is leaving EastEnders after nearly 14 years playing Lola Pearce-Brown on the BBC soap opera.
The actress, 31, is set to have a devastating exit from the show this week as her character will lose her battle with terminal cancer.
Lola was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and was given only months to live, with viewers being left heartbroken by her recent scenes.
But why is Danielle now leaving EastEnders after appearing on the soap opera since 2011?
Ahead of her final scenes airing on Wednesday, MailOnline takes a look at why the actress is biding farewell to her role.
Exit: Danielle Harold is leaving EastEnders after nearly 14 years playing Lola Pearce-Brown (pictured) on the BBC soap opera
Longtime favourite: But why is Danielle now leaving EastEnders after appearing on the soap opera since 2011?
Why is Danielle leaving EastEnders?
In June 2022, it was revealed that Danielle would be leaving EastEnders with her character being written out in the tragic storyline.
At the time, a source claimed that Danielle had been left ‘in pieces’ at the news, which has left her no option to return due to the tragic ending.
An insider at the TV show told The Sun at the time: ‘She was not expecting the chop because her character has been a firm favourite with viewers. She’ll be written out with no option to return.’
Since then, Danielle has openly shared her upset about leaving her character behind after nearly 14 years, with Lola set to lose her fight with cancer.
On leaving the role, Danielle said: ‘[It has been] 14 years nearly, she becomes a little part of you. I’ll be so sad saying goodbye to her.’
She added: ‘It was really important to just keep yourself – this is what I heard from the girls [while doing research], it can be portrayed in a very grim way but it’s not always that.’
EastEnders’ executive producer Chris Clenshaw also recently revealed what made them choose Lola for the soap’s tragic terminal cancer storyline.
Sad: Danielle has openly shared her upset about leaving her character behind after nearly 14 years, with Lola set to lose her fight with cancer
According to Chris, to achieve show bosses’ goal of raising awareness for the disease, the character had to be ‘loved’.
Speaking at a press screening for Lola’s final episode, he discussed the immense thought that went into their decision.
He revealed: ‘The ending of one of our biggest storylines of the past year, and almost everyone on the show is extremely proud of the story, it’s also an extremely sad time for us as we say farewell to the incredible Danielle Harold.’
He continued: ‘When we first came up with the idea of telling the story, we debated at great length, and it certainly wasn’t a decision that we took lightly.
‘The story was so powerful and we know from previous stories such as these that when EastEnders tackles or raises awareness of an issue, the impact can be huge and we all felt that this was one of those stories that needed to be told.
‘With the support of Brain Tumour Research and Macmillan Cancer Support, whose help and support has been invaluable, we as well as all the families and most importantly those actually going through what Lola is, our understanding of the issue grew and we knew just how important it was that we tell this story.
‘And let me tell you, right from the start Danielle has thrown her heart and soul, not only into the performance but also the detailed research.’
Loss: EastEnders’ executive producer Chris Clenshaw also recently revealed what made them choose Lola (pictured with Jay Mitchell) for the soap’s tragic terminal cancer storyline
Chris also said he was full of praise for Danielle who has portrayed Lola’s devastating journey.
He added: ‘I think it’s incredibly difficult. None of us want to say goodbye to the character, and none of us want to say goodbye to Danielle, but I think that’s the character Danielle has created.
‘She is so well loved, and you can only really tell a story like this with a character that is so well loved.
‘We all know how talented Danielle is. But from the outset of this storyline, she has blown everyone away.’
What are Danielle’s future plans?
Danielle’s first job after leaving her role on EastEnders was revealed last week, according to The Sun.
Danielle has remained tight lipped about her next move after leaving the show, however her future after EastEnders has now apparently been revealed.
It has been claimed that Danielle will next appear on Celebrity Hunted, where she will try to keep hidden from the hunters who are trying to discover her location.
An insider said: ‘After filming Lola’s storyline, Danielle is keen to do whatever she can to help raise money for the fight against cancer.
‘She will throw herself into the show and hopefully stay hidden long enough to beat the Hunters.’
It has been claimed that she will be joined by former Coronation Street star, Kimberly Hart-Simpson on the celebrity edition of the Channel 4 programme.
New job: Danielle’s first job after leaving her role on EastEnders was revealed to be an appearance on Celebrity Hunted, according to The Sun
When will her final scenes air?
Lola’s devastating final scenes will be broadcast on Wednesday May 31, 2023.
In her penultimate episode, EastEnders fans were left in ‘puddles of tears’ as Denise Fox made a poignant promise to dying Lola.
BBC viewers were left heartbroken as Denise (Diane Parish), who employed Lola at her salon, promised to be an ‘extra auntie’ to her only daughter Lexi.
She said: ‘You’ve been a good worker for me over the years, Lo. You got real flair.
‘But more than that, enough though I’m over the hill, you’ve been a mate. So wise beyond your years, your tea left a little bit to be desired, though, babe.
‘I’m going to look out for Lex. I know she’s got people, but one extra auntie ain’t going to hurt, is it?’
The scene came to a close with Denise giving Lola a kiss and whispering: ‘You take care, sweetheart’, leaving viewers in floods of tears.
Devastating: In her penultimate episode, EastEnders fans were left in ‘puddles of tears’ as Denise Fox made a poignant promise to dying Lola
Poignant: BBC viewers were left heartbroken as Denise (Diane Parish), who employed Lola at her salon, promised to be an ‘extra auntie’ to her only daughter Lexi (pictured with Lola)
Taking to Twitter, one said: ‘Denise’s goodbye to Lola was beautiful, saying she’ll always look out for Lexi.’
Another wrote: ‘Denise broke my heart,’ while a third added: ‘That Lola and Denise scene broke my heart’.
A fourth penned: ‘My heart is breaking at these scenes.’
‘Denise saying she’s going to be an extra Auntie to Lexi. I’m a puddle of tears,’ said another.