Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood has announced he has quit the Channel 4 soap after eight years.
The award-winning executive producer, 44, told Lime Pictures directors back in March that he planned to leave at the end of the year. and his episodes will remain on screen until June 2021.
Bryan, who created many of the show’s most popular and enduring characters including the McQueen family, has been behind the show’s most groundbreaking storylines and award wins.
Speaking about his departure in a statement, Bryan said: "For many years I have had the privilege of running a soap opera with a fiercely loyal audience.
"I passionately believe that soaps can help viewers start serious conversations about their lives and in recent years we have covered important topics within mental health, sexual consent, Far-Right radicalisation, male rape, sexual abuse and many issues other shows might look away from.
"It has also been a joy to deliver the plot buster stories that ‘can only happen on Hollyoaks', stories that give our viewers an entertaining escape into a heightened world."
He added: "I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, and I want to thank the entire team. Their talent, warmth, loyalty and friendship are why I stayed so long.
"The 25th anniversary feels like an elegant time to hand the reins over to someone else.
Claire Poyser and Kate Little, Lime Pictures MDs, said: "Bryan’s passion for creating gloriously soapy characters that take fans from laughter to tears in a heartbeat, a rich imagination for nurturing compelling plot busters and his unwavering commitment to tell groundbreaking issue led stories mark him out as an outstanding executive producer of Hollyoaks.
"This has been rightly reflected in the multitude of awards that the series has secured throughout his tenure at Lime. We would like to thank him for his dedication, care and commitment to the show throughout the last eight years."
Head of Channel 4 Drama, Caroline Hollick, added: "Working with Bryan has been both utterly inspirational and enormous fun.
"Under his leadership, Hollyoaks has become a true game changer in the soap world, and while I’m heartbroken to say goodbye, I can’t wait to see what he achieves next."
Bryan oversaw EastEnders from 2010 to 2012 before leaving for the Channel 4 soap.
He was also in charge of Hollyoaks from 2006 and 2009 as a producer.
The Channel 4 soap returns to our screens on Monday after a two-month break after the coronavirus pandemic halted production earlier this year.
Hollyoaks continues ion Channel 4 on Monday September 7 at 6.30pm