Pam St Clements leaving EastEnders
'EastEnders' Pam St Clements - who plays the show's Pat Evans - is leaving the soap at the end of the year
Pat Evans is leaving 'EastEnders'.
Pam St Clements - who has played the hard-nosed matriarch for more than 25 years - said her character will exit the programme later this year, after not renewing her contract.
Man eater Pat, famed for her 80s-style earrings, will leave in a storyline which will climax over Christmas described as a "fitting finale not to be missed" by BBC bosses.
Pam, 69, said: "I have enjoyed 25-and-a-half wonderful years in 'EastEnders' creating the character of Pat, but feel it's time to hang up her earrings.
"Leaving the EastEnders family will be akin to a bereavement. But I'm looking forward to the other work and life opportunities that I will have the time to pursue."
Since she started on the show in 1986, Pat's most colourful storylines have featured her factitious relationships with ex-husband Frank Butcher (Mike Reid), step-daughter Janine (Charlie Brooks) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor).
Barbara, a close friend, led tributes to the star, telling the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Pam St Clement created a truly iconic character in Pat. I was privileged enough to be a part of her journey, as Peggy and Pat fought, laughed and cried together.
Show boss Brian Kirkwood also paid tribute to the actress, saying: "Pam St Clement has created one of the most iconic and loved characters in British TV history. Over the years we've seen her develop from a shrew into a matriarch.
"Pat's colour, warmth and steel have given 'EastEnders' some of its most memorable stories.
"We wish her the very best of luck in everything that comes next."
It is thought Pam will continue to pursue other acting roles after leaving the soap.