EastEnders spoilers follow from the soap's BBC iPlayer box set, which is available to watch now. Some readers may prefer to avoid these storyline details, as the episodes haven't yet aired on BBC One.
EastEnders has aired exit scenes for Shirley Carter.
Fans shouldn't be too worried about the sad scenes that saw Shirley fleeing Walford in Thursday's episode (December 29), as Digital Spy has learned this won't be the last they see of cast member Linda Henry.
A show spokesperson has confirmed to us: "Linda Henry will be returning to EastEnders."
This has been a week of dramatic departures for members of the extended Carter family, as Danny Dyer and Charlie Brooks both bowed out as regular cast members on Christmas Day and Boxing Day specials.
Kellie Bright was also temporarily written out of the soap to explain Linda grieving with her children, though she will return alongside Linda Henry in the New Year.
Viewers had also seen Shirley take out her rage over Mick's disappearance on Janine's young daughter Scarlett, since the girl initially hid the truth about her mum's lies under blackmail threats.
In Thursday's (December 29) episode, Shirley realised she needed to make things right with Scarlett because the only one responsible for Mick's apparent death was Janine.
She barged over to speak with Scarlett, in spite of Ricky's threats that he would call the police. Scarlett insisted on speaking with Shirley and was surprised by what she heard.
"My Mick, he had a big heart and he loved people. He loved being a dad and that's how he saw you, as one of his own," she said.
When Scarlett admitted she blamed herself for Mick's downfall, Shirley assured her: "It's not your fault. There's only one person responsible for this."
Shirley likened Scarlett's situation with Janine to her own with Dean, and said that while she had to let Dean go, she still had love for him. The two then shared a warm hug.
Her next stop was to the Slater house to explain that she needed to leave Walford because "there's nothing here" for her anymore.
"Just bad memories," she explained.
Shirley revealed that she'd spoken to daughter Carly and would be going to stay with her grandson. After hearing Jean had Harvey over, she encouraged her friend to make another go of a romance.
"Life's too short, if you get your chance at happiness, go and get it," Shirley advised.
As she locked up the Vic later on, Shirley thanked Denise Fox for calling Carly on her behalf and asked her to "keep an eye" on the pub.
"I don't really think this place is home for me anymore. Not without Mick or Tina," she explained.
What will bring Shirley back to the Square?
EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
If you identify with the themes in this article, the NHS has resources available to help with grief counselling and other support in the UK. In the US, the CDC also has resources available for those grieving.
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