Danny Dyer has hailed “the end of an era” and thanked his EastEnders castmates following his character’s exit from the long-running soap on Christmas Day.
The actor, who played landlord Mick Carter in the popular BBC show, said he was “grateful” for his years working on the show and would “relish those moments for the rest of my life”.
It comes after Sunday’s emotional episode saw Mick seemingly lost in the English Channel, while trying to rescue his wife Janine Butcher and ex-wife Linda Carter from the waves.
Dyer shared a video to Instagram on Boxing Day from an unidentified beach.
“Don’t worry I know it was emotional last night, it was a very, very nutty episode, but don’t be concerned, because I f****** made it,” he joked – in reference to his character’s exit.
“It was a c*** of a swim but let me tell you now, it was worth it. Mick needed a rest, it was time for him to move on – a new chapter.”
Becoming more serious, Dyer went on: “I want to take this opportunity to thank all my castmates, every single one of you, I love you all very dearly.
“I’m honoured to have worked with you for as long as I have and I’ll relish those moments for the rest of my life.
“I’m not going to name names, there’s too many of you – of course my Carter family that mean everything to me.
“It’s the end of an era and, like I said, I really appreciate and am very grateful for the years that I had running the Queen Vic.
“So again, don’t stress – especially the fans that have voted for me, invested in Mick and made him the character that he is. He had to get away.”
Pausing to take a drink of a cocktail, Dyer signed off, saying: “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and don’t worry about Mick, because he’s sweet as a f****** nut.”
Dyer’s dramatic departure from EastEnders comes exactly nine years after his debut as Mick Carter on Christmas Day 2013.
He went on to appear in a total of 1,150 episodes.