After it was reported by the Mirror newspaper yesterday that a frantic re-write of the EastEnders exit storyline of Janine Butcher had taken place following the sudden decision by one of the main characters involved to leave, the BBC has now denied that this was the case.
The paper reported yesterday that Jasmyn Banks, who plays Alice Branning in the hit BBC soap, had dropped a massive bomb on producers when she revealed that she would not be staying to film her final scenes in the show because she was off to Hollywood.
Fans of the hit soap will know how, on Christmas Day, it was finally revealed that Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks) was the person who had delivered the fatal stab to her husband Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd) and not Alice who is currently serving time for the crime.
It was reported that the original storyline would see Alice and Janine standing trial together in court after police believed that the crime was in fact a conspiracy between the two women.
However, according to the paper, Banks threw a spanner in the works by announcing that she was quitting the show with immediate effect, despite apparently being offered a contract extension, with a BBC source supposedly telling the publication:
“Jasmyn’s decision not to return has thrown scriptwriters into a right old spin.
“While she wasn’t due to have any speaking roles in Janine’s trial scenes, she was meant to be filmed leaving prison and making appearances at court.
“It seems she has turned her back on having anything more to do with EastEnders though.”
But now it would seem that the BBC are in total denial over this rumour, whilst insisting that the conclusion to this storyline, and the exit for Charlie Brooks who plays Janine, will play out on our screens early in the New Year exactly as planned, with a BBC source quoted by Digital Spy as saying:
“There have been no changes to the ending of Janine’s story. Alice’s role was a very minor part in the conclusion of this storyline so everything will go ahead as planned.
“We are not going to confirm the details of the storyline as we don’t want to spoil it for the viewers, however there are a few big twists to come.”
Fans watched Banks in her final scenes as Alice Branning on Christmas Eve when she pleaded guilty to the murder of Michael, before Janine’s involvement was alerted to the police.
EastEnders continues tonight at 9pm on BBC1 / BBC1 HD – Watch an interview with Jasmyn Banks and Steve John Shepherd, who played Alice and Michael in the soap, in the clip below: