EastEnders axes four characters

Four 'EastEnders' characters, including Kierston Wareing's Kirsty Branning, will be axed in the New Year amid a shake-up to boost ratings

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Kierston Wareing

Kierston Wareing as Kirsty Branning

'EastEnders' is set to axe four characters in a major shake-up to boost ratings.

Kierston Wareing's Kirsty Branning and Phaldut Sharma's AJ Ahmed are among the Walford residents who will leave the show early next year as new executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins aims to restore the BBC One show, which has fallen behind 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale' in the ratings, to its former glory.

Rachel Bright's Poppy Meadow and Daniel Coonan's Carl White have also been dropped from the soap.

A source told The Sun newspaper: "Dominic didn't feel the characters who are leaving fit with the direction he is taking the show so he quickly decided to write them out.

"He has only been in a month but he is already making big changes. He knows what he wants for 'EastEnders' and is putting plans in place quickly.

"His arrival has gone down really well with cast and crew and there is a real energy at the studios right now -- even though some cast are scared they could be next for the chop."

Dominic was previously a scriptwriter at 'EastEnders' and came up with the ratings-grabbing 'Who killed Archie Mitchell?' storyline in 2010.

The flagship BBC soap has fallen behind its ITV rivals in the ratings in recent months.

Former boss Lorraine Newman was forced to quit in July after viewers dipped below five million.

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