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EastEnders legend Danny Dyer has quit the BBC show as Queen Vic landlord Mick Carter after eight years.
The 44-year-old actor has reportedly signed a six-figure sum to appear in an upcoming drama on Sky.
It means he has severed the £1million golden handcuffs deal he signed with the BBC in 2018 which bars him from starring in shows on rival channels.
Danny and some of his fellow co-stars are said to be disappointed at the tight controls imposed by the Beeb which has stopped them doing other work.
It will be a huge blow to the show after bosses signed Danny in 2013 in what turned out to be a ratings winner.
A source told Mirror said: “Danny has offers coming in to him left right and centre, and a lot of the things he has wanted to do he can’t because EastEnders have such strict rules.
“It’s driven him mad at times and he’s now ready for a change. But it hasn’t been easy to walk away. BBC bosses have been desperate to keep him but he’s been insistent and when Sky approached they gave an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“It’s a new chapter for Dan and he’s over the moon.”
Dad-of-three Danny starred in dozens of films before EastEnders including cult smash The Football Factory, Mean Machine and Dead Man Running.
He was first asked to star in the BBC One soap opera in back April 2009, but turned it down as he didn’t think he could cope with the pressure.
However, the BBC announced in October 2013that Danny had been cast in the soap and would appear from Christmas 2013.
He has been part of several gripping storylines since joining the soap.
In 2017, Danny took a short break from EastEnders, at the time BBC bosses said that his hiatus was because he was experiencing 'exhaustion', but Danny later spoke out about the real reasoning behind his break.
Danny flew to South Africa during his short break from the show, and spoke about the hiatus when he sat down with Jake Wood on his Pound For Pound boxing podcast.
Speaking to Jake, Danny said: "I had a few nutty years. When you have a bit of fame you have a responsibility to speak up.
"It comes with maturity. It comes with experience. It takes us a long time to grow up as men. I have been reaping the rewards now and I am in a good place. It is all good."
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He returned to Albert Square in May 2018 after a six-week break in South Africa and was thrown straight into a tense storyline where he seeked revenge after being wrongly locked up because of Stuart Highway, a childhood friend of Mick’s.
An EastEnders spokesperson told the publication said: “Danny will be leaving EastEnders when his contract ends later this year.
"He made Mick Carter an iconic character for which we shall always be grateful.
“However there’s still quite some time and plenty of explosive drama for Mick to come before he departs Walford.”
EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One
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