Samantha Womack quits EastEnders
'EastEnders' actress Samantha Womack has sensationally bowed out of her role as Ronnie Branning after being horrified by the soap's traumatising cot death storyline.
Samantha Womack has quit 'EastEnders' after being horrified by the soap's traumatising cot death storyline.
The 38-year-old actress - who plays Ronnie Branning in the BBC One show - made the decision to bow out of her role last November when she was handed the script for the harrowing New Year's Eve (31.12.10) scenes, which saw her alter-ego swap her dead baby with Kat Moon's (Jessie Wallace) newborn tot.
Handing a letter of resignation to 'EastEnders' producers, Samantha said she viewed the shocking storyline - which has elicited more than 3,500 complaints from angry viewers - "as a mother first and an actress second".
An insider explained: "All she could think about was the reaction of parents, especially mothers, who had lost children to cot death. She saw the story as a mother first and an actress second, which made her realise things had gone too far."
Despite show chiefs begging her to stay and offering the star more money, the actress - who is mum to Benjamin, nine, and five-year-old Lily-Rose - was adamant she would be leaving in May.
The source added to The Sun newspaper: "The last couple of months at work have been awful for Sam. The first time she read the script, she thought it was wrong and pushed boundaries too far. It was such a sensitive issue, she knew it would cause a backlash.
"She wrote the letter on the day she read it and made it clear to bosses she thought it was wrong. They persuaded her to stay and film the scenes, but she will leave in May. It was incredibly draining for her filming the scenes and incredibly difficult emotionally."