EastEnders star Jo Joyner explains why she quit Ackley Bridge

Catherine Earp
·2-min read
Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Jo Joyner has opened up about her decision to leave Ackley Bridge.

The former EastEnders actress has been on the show for four seasons and is set to leave midway through the current season.

Her character, headteacher Mandy, has been in the show since the beginning playing an integral role in merging the two schools.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

Speaking to Lorraine about her decision to walk away, Jo said: "I felt similar to how Mandy feels in this series really.

"The whole thing is up and running, it was great to be a part of at the very beginning and to set up, but now that it’s up and running and it knows what it is and the kids own it all, it’s time to move on."

She added: "We’ve got some great new young kids… It’s always hard to move on.

Photo credit: Channel 4
Photo credit: Channel 4

"I think loyal fans who have been with us for three years might be like, 'Oh, who are these people? Who’s coming in now?' but that’s the nature of a school drama.

"The kids grow up, they leave, and we get a whole flux of new brilliant people on board."

Jo previously spoke about filming her final scenes alongside fellow star Sunetra Sarker: "There weren’t tears, but it was very sad."

"It was nice because it meant we had a laugh with the crew, and I’ve got the recording to keep as a memento," said the actress.

Photo credit: Jo Joyner Instagram
Photo credit: Jo Joyner Instagram

"Then because we were bubbled Sunetra proceeded to give me hugs on behalf of all the crew – here’s one from sound, here’s one from makeup."

She added: "I’ll always be proud to have been a part of a show like Ackley Bridge – our show has been a great way to demonstrate all the best things that can come from a diverse but connected and respectful community.

"The thing I’ll miss most about Mandy was her drive to deliver that to her community, to bring people together and to believe that education was a route out for anyone who truly wanted it."

Ackley Bridge continues tonight at 6pm on Channel 4.

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