EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders' executive producer Chris Clenshaw has spoken about the decision to write out Lola Pearce.
Earlier this year, word leaked out that Danielle Harold's popular character would be leaving the BBC soap after a three-year stint back in Walford.
Speaking to Inside Soap about the ongoing storyline, Clenshaw commented: "It's such an important issue to tell, and Danielle is doing a phenomenal job.
"I wanted Lola and Jay back together, especially for this story. Although I probably would have found a way to reunite them, as I think they're meant to be together. Certainly for this story, as it's an emotional one. And there's a love story at the heart of it."
Asked whether it's hard to lose fan favourite characters like Lola, Clenshaw replied: "Of course, that is the nature of soap, it's always tough and we don't like to say goodbye.
"But when you play big stories it has to be with characters you love. Lola is a much-loved character – she has grown up in Walford and is very close to the audience's heart, which is why her story matters so much.
"We wouldn't do this story with anyone, but it is an important story that needs to be told."
Earlier this year, Danielle expressed her excitement for future projects beyond her time at EastEnders.
She told the Daily Star in June: "EastEnders has been such a big part of my life, but I can't wait to start something new.
"I want to work on other things and play other characters. I can't wait to get out there and see what's possible. I'd love to do a drama – something with a beginning, middle and an end to the story. I want to do something completely different to soaps. I'd love to get back to doing some films as well."
EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer.
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