EastEnders fans in tears over touching Frankie twist as Rose Ayling-Ellis leaves soap

EastEnders fans were left in tears on Thursday's episode as Strictly Come Dancing champion Rose Ayling-Ellis made her BBC One soap exit as Frankie Lewis.

It was announced in August that Rose, 27, who won Strictly in 2021 with Giovanni Pernice, would be leaving Albert Square as Frankie after first joining in 2020.

And Thursday saw Frankie's emotional exit as the character headed off to Scotland for a new job, leaving her on-screen family devastated.

In particular, dad Mick Carter, played by Danny Dyer, was left heartbroken but soon decided to support his daughter after a chat with ex-wife Linda, played by Kellie Bright.

After an emotional farewell party in the Queen Vic, Frankie bravely decided to make her own way to the airport after she was recently harassed on a train by a stranger on her way home from a nightclub in harrowing scenes.

As Frankie went to leave Walford, there was one final emotional twist as Mick spotted that her luggage tag said Frankie Carter instead of Frankie Lewis.

To which Frankie emotionally revealed: "I haven't made it official, but it just felt right. I hope you don't mind?"

With a tearful Mick replying: "What am I going to do without my first-born, hey?"

As Frankie left, Linda sweetly commented: "She's been a mad chapter in our lives, ain't she?"

To which Mick added: "The nuttiest yet!'

Rose previously said of her departure: "It’s been incredibly special to be EastEnders’ first regular deaf actor. I have loved my time on the show and Frankie has been such an awesome character to play, however now feels like the right time for me to move on and I am excited and ready for new challenges.

“I will always treasure my time on the show and all the incredible people I have worked with who have supported my growth as an actor these last two years and given me so many amazing memories.

“I am excited for viewers to see Frankie’s exit storyline; I think it’s a really important one that will hit home for lots of people.”

EastEnders executive producer Chris Clenshaw added: “I have only had the pleasure to work with Rose for a short time but she has always been an incredible asset to EastEnders; not just as a phenomenal actor, but as an amazing company member too.

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"As part of the Carter family, Rose has shone in important narratives such as discovering she’s Mick Carter’s daughter as a result of child abuse; and she will soon tackle the important issue highlighting women’s safety on the streets.

"We at EastEnders are incredibly proud of everything Rose has achieved – she’s a real trailblazer, and we wish her every success."

EastEnders continues on BBC One on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One.

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