10:42 13 March 2012
EastEnders' executive producer Bryan Kirkwood has quit the soap, it has been announced.
The BBC One shows boss will stand down from his role next month after two years at the top.
Of his exit, Kirkwood said:
"Being the executive producer of EastEnders is one of the most exciting jobs in TV, but it's also the most exhausting - so after two years, I've decided it's time to leave Walford.
"It's been a thrill to work with such talented people. Most of all it's been a privilege to tell stories that have genuinely had the nation talking. I'm going to take with me some brilliant friends and memories.
Despite achieving the coveted 'most watched' Christmas Day slot last year, Eastenders has been dogged by falling ratings and viewer complaints.
Kirkwood oversaw the hugely unpopular Ronnie and Kat baby swap storyline, which drew record complaints and led to Samantha Womack quitting the soap.
However, EastEnders has also enjoyed some awards success in the past two years, including last year, winning the top soap prizes at the BAFTA, RTS, NTA and British Soap Awards.
John Yorke, BBC Controller of Drama Production and New Talent, added:
"I would like to thank Bryan for his extraordinary hard work, a chest full of awards and some great storylines. It's been a pleasure working with him and I wish him every success for the future."
Lorraine Newman will take over the day to day running of the soap on an acting basis.
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