Steve John Shepherd quits EastEnders
Steve John Shepherd is quitting 'EastEnders' after three years playing Michael Moon
Steve John Shepherd is quitting 'EastEnders'.
The 39-year-old actor is departing his role as sinister Michael Moon after three years in what is described as a "nail-biting plot twist".
The actor said: "I feel now is the time to move on. I have relished every minute of exploring his character - the good and the bad.
"I feel extremely privileged to have had this amazing experience and want to thank everybody - most importantly the fans of the show - for taking Michael and his numerous flaws into their hearts."
Michael's departure is expected to coincide with the return of his on-screen wife Janine (Charlie Brooks).
Producer Lorraine Newman said: "The audience will enjoy the dramatic end.
"With the return of Janine this month, expect plenty of fireworks."
Show sources say both the actor and his alter-ego will be missed from Albert Square.
A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "It's the end for Michael. He has been an immensely popular character and everyone will be sad to see him go."
Michael's storylines have seen the villain father a child with his cousin Alfie's wife Kat, cheated Jean Slater out of her lottery winnings, and have a turbulent relationship with Janine, the mother of his baby daughter Scarlett.