EastEnders teens recast
Lucy Beale (Melissa Suffield) and Ben Mitchell (Charlie Jones) are to be replaced by new actors in 'EastEnders' and not written out from the show as was previously thought
'EastEnders' characters Lucy Beale and Ben Mitchell are to be recast.
The teenage Albert Square residents - played by Melissa Suffield and Charlie Jones - have not been written out of the BBC One soap permanently, but are going to be replaced by actors with "higher levels" of experience.
A show insider said: "Sometimes a higher level of experience is needed as characters mature.
"It's common practice to recast actors employed as children to take on more challenging adult storylines."
Charlie, who has played hardman Phil Mitchell's partially-deaf son for four years, was reportedly inconsolable when he heard the news last night (06.06.10).
His character Ben is set to exit as part of a dramatic storyline involving step-sister Louise.
However, the schoolboy will return to the show in the future, but will be portrayed by a different actor.
Melissa's departure from the soap - where she has worked for six years - comes after rumours she is facing the axe because of her behaviour outside the show, and was giving a warning earlier in the year after she was photographed outside a London nightclub, despite being 17.
A source recently said: "Melissa has been hauled before bosses on a number of occasions for her behaviour and attitude outside work.
"So when things didn't improve they had no choice but to write her out of the show."
Melissa is set to leave the show this summer.