EastEnders' Janine Mick and Lola are all leaving

Milly Zero exits EastEnders as Dotty Cotton, Kheerat Panesar leaves too

We're saying goodbye to Mick

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Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2022? The soap has already aired several exits this year, and after the shock departure of Kheerat Panesar earlier this week, yet another star has now confirmed they are off.

There are also some huge EastEnders returns to look forward to, so the news isn’t all bleak!

Here are all the cast changes for EastEnders in 2022.

Who’s leaving EastEnders in 2022?

Milly Zero announces her exit as Dotty Cotton on Insta Stories
The Dotty Cotton actress announcedher exit on Instagram Stories (Credit: Instagram)

Milly Zero announces she is leaving EastEnders

Dotty Cotton actress Milly Zero has revealed on her Instagram Stories she has quit EastEnders.

Writing to her fans, she said: “After three and a half years, I have decided my journey with the icon that is Dotty Cotton has come to an end.

“I can’t tell you how life changing and incredible my time at EastEnders has been, and how much I am going to miss it, but I am ready for new challenges now.

“Thank you to everyone that made it so special – I have made friends for life, learnt huge amounts and made memories to last a lifetime.

“I can’t wait for you all to watch her exit, she goes out with a bang!”

Dotty, the daughter of Nick Cotton, returned to Walford played by Milly in 2019.

She was involved in some huge storylines including trying to trick Sonia out of money by convincing her Rocky was her biological dad.

She was also instrumental in the exit of Tiffany Butcher-Baker after husband Keegan cheated with Dotty.

EastEnders had no further comment to make when Entertainment Daily approached them about Milly’s announcement.

Kheerat has left the Square (Credit: BBC)

Kheerat Panesar

Jaz Singh Deol has left EastEnders as Kheerat Panesar in shock scenes aired on Thursday, November 10.

After three years playing the role Jaz bowed out as Kheerat took the blame for Ranveer’s murder to save his mum, Suki, from prison.

An EastEnders spokesperson has confirmed the scenes where he was arrested served as Jaz’s exit.

Viewers know Ravi actually killed Ranveer and allowed Suki to think she did it.

But will the truth ever come out?

Kheerat’s girlfriend Stacey Slater tried to stop him doing it, by begging him not to forget her.

“Forget you? You think that I’m going to forget about you? You are the first person who’s ever let me be myself,” Kheerat told her. He then added: “You are the one that’s found me.”

But he still made the decision to take the blame and was carted out of the Square in a police car.

Who’s next in leaving EastEnders?

EastEnders Feb 11 Mick nurses a hangover as Shirley makes it clear he’s not forgiven.
Danny Dyer is departing the soap as Mick Carter (Credit: BBC)

Mick Carter

The Carter clan are going to be seriously depleted this year after EastEnders confirmed that Danny Dyer is leaving as Mick Carter after nine years in the role.

A statement posted to their Instagram account revealed: “Danny Dyer will be leaving EastEnders later in the year.

“Danny has said ‘I am leaving EastEnders. It’s time to roll the dice and take the leap. I love everybody here and (EastEnders) has been amazing for me… it’s an important part of television. Mick’s exit is going to be a very powerful thing.'”

The message continued: “As his departure isn’t for some time we are able to plan a huge story for Mick.

“With Linda returning to Walford very soon, the Carters will be at the heart of some very big drama in 2022!”

Linda is back and Mick is dating Janine, but who will he end up with?

Who’s also leaving EastEnders?

Lola’s has had a tough time lately (Credit: BBC)

Lola Pearce

After a tough few months Lola Pearce, played by Danielle Harold, has reportedly been axed by Chris Clenshaw.

Although neither EastEnders nor Danielle have commented on the news, the 29-year-old actress was said to be left in tears by the decision.

According to The Sun: “Dan was in pieces. The cull came out of the blue.

“She was not expecting the chop because her character has been a firm favourite with viewers. She’ll be written out with no option to return.”

It has since been revealed Lola will die of a brain tumour.

Charlie Brooks is off again (Credit: BBC)

Who’s leaving EastEnders: Janine Butcher

Charlie Brooks announced in September that she is set to exit the soap as Janine Butcher once again.

She will film her explosive exit this year.

Charlie’s final scenes are expected to air over the New Year period.

Charlie told The Sun on Sunday: “I was only ever due back to EastEnders for a year, but when [exec producer] Chris Clenshaw presented me with his idea for the story, I couldn’t say no to staying a little longer.

“I’ve had an amazing time, as I always do when I go back. But as always with Janine, she probably should not outstay her welcome — for everyone’s sake.”

With Janine pregnant and engaged to Mick Carter, and him also leaving, will they ride off happily into the sunset together?

Or will all her lies and scheming be exposed and result in the ultimate showdown?

Who is returning to EastEnders in 2022?

Sid Owen is making a comeback to EastEnders according to reports (Credit: BBC)
Sid Owen is making a comeback to EastEnders according to reports (Credit: BBC)

Ricky Butcher

EastEnders bosses are bringing back Sid Owen as Ricky Butcher.

It’s been over ten years since he left Walford, but he’s back for a temporary stint later this year.

He’ll be reunited with both sister Janine and ex-wife Sam – but what has brought him back?

On returning, Sid Owen said: “I’m delighted to back at EastEnders.

“I can’t wait to see what Ricky Butcher has been up to these past few years and how he’s going to react to seeing some familiar faces including old flames. I’m excited to see the drama unfold.”

Chris Clenshaw, Executive Producer, said: “It is a great pleasure to welcome Sid back to the role of Ricky Butcher.

“Sid helped to create such an iconic character in Ricky who became so synonymous with the show and we couldn’t be more excited to have him back for a while.”

Jac Jossa is coming back as Lauren Branning (Credit: BBC)

Lauren Branning

EastEnders is planning a very special send-off for the late June Brown and has confirmed six huge comebacks for the funeral.

Lauren Branning – aka Jacqueline Jossa – will return to bid farewell to her grandma Dot.

Lauren has been in New Zealand since 2018 where she started a new life with her son Louie.

But now she’s back she finds a lot has changed in Albert Square and she’s very keen to get to know one Albert Square resident.

Speaking about returning as Lauren, Jacqueline Jossa said: “Coming back to EastEnders for Dot’s funeral was a no brainer, and it was a real honour to be invited back. I had a lot of fun but, of course, it was bittersweet.

“It was amazing to be back, but hard to be filming this storyline. I can tell the viewers that now Dot gets the beautiful send off that she deserves.

“June was the light and joy of EastEnders. I had so much fun working with her, the incredible stories and how infections and witty she was. June is a legend and I miss her very much.”

Lofty is returning again (Credit: BBC)

Lofty Holloway

Tom Watts will be back to reprise his role as Lofty Holloway following his brief return in 2019 for Dr Legg’s funeral.

He said: “June was amazing as Dot. She completely inhabited the character: grew with her, suffered with her and faced life’s troubles with her.

“As soon as Dot appeared on screen, you knew June had all that history lighting up every look and every line of every single scene she was a part of.”

Mary Smith poses in front of the EastEnders sign for her return
Mary the Punk was much-loved by Dot (Credit: BBC)

Mary Smith

Dot was central to helping Mary ‘The Punk’ Smith during her years in EastEnders.

Mary will return for Dot’s send off too.

Dot was reunited with Mary and her daughter Annie in 2019 when they returned to Walford for Dr Legg’s funeral.

But the circumstances around this latest comeback are set to be even sadder.

Mary actress Linda Davidson said: “I felt honoured to be asked to come back.

“It’s going to be an emotionally difficult few days, however the script is wonderful and it’s a joyful tribute to an East End legend.”

Colin Russell looks over his shoulder as he talks to Barry in EastEnders
Colin Russell was originally in EastEnders in the 80s (Credit: BBC)

Colin Russell

Lord Cashman, who played Colin Russell will be returning after last appearing in 2016.

Colin then came back after inviting Dot to his wedding, knowing she may not attend because of her views on same-sex marriage.

However after some thought, Dot did attend Colin’s wedding.

Lord Cashman said: “When I was asked back I didn’t even hesitate because I couldn’t have imagined not being there for June, and I know Colin couldn’t have imagined not being there for Dot – they had that amazing deep friendship that lasted during their years, and it was exactly the same with me and June.”

Barry Clark in EastEnders is tearful and angry after his AIDS test
Barry was Colin’s boyfriend (Credit: BBC)

Barry Clark

Colin will return alongside his ex-boyfriend Barry, played by Gary Hailes.

Barry and Colin split in 1988 and Barry left to work on a cruise ship. However, he did return for Colin’s exit storyline.

Gary has spoken of his return: “Being invited back to the show after almost 30 years away was exciting, scary, strange, but overall it was really nice!

“EastEnders has always been a big part of my life so to have the opportunity to come back – there were nerves – but that quickly turned into excitement, and warmth at the chance to honour Dot.

“June was an incredibly genuine person both on and off screen, she really cared and was attentive to people. That’s one thing I’ll never forget.”

Disa O’Brien

Jan Graveson will make a comeback as Disa O’Brien.

Homeless Disa was helped by Dot to escape her abusive stepfather between 1990 and 1991.

Jan said of her return: “I am absolutely thrilled to be invited back to EastEnders to play Disa again and to honour the wonderful and unique character of Dot Cotton.

“I remember only too well of Dot and Disa’s long dramatic scenes together and how they gripped the nation.

“Her notes, her suggestions, taught me so much.

“I have not, as yet, felt anything close to that energy, conviction and rapport, and probably never will. Dot – and June – was an inspiration to me, a brilliant actress to work with and a beautiful heart who became a lifelong friend.”


Patsy Kensit smiles on the red carpet in all black outfit
Patsy Kensit is reportedly set to arrive in Walford this year (Credit: SplashNews.com)


Lola Pearce has been diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour.

With Lola on the who’s leaving EastEnders list, her boyfriend Jay Brown, ex Ben Mitchell and grandfather Billy Mitchell all vowed to be there every step of the way for her.

But now it can be revealed that her long-lost mother Emma will be arriving in Walford for her daughter.

And bosses have reportedly signed up Emmerdale legend Patsy Kensit to play her.

A source claimed to The Sun: “Bosses are thrilled they have managed to get Patsy for this role.

“She’s a great actress and is about to play a part in one of their biggest current storylines.”

It’s claimed she’ll start filming later this month, with the scenes airing around Christmas time.

Read more: Complete EastEnders cast list for 2022 – meet them all here

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EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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**This article is updated regularly to reflect the ongoing changes in the EastEnders cast.

Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer