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SAMANTHA Womack left EastEnders in the week of thousands of complaints about its latest storyline. But, as we reveal here, her own life has read like a soap plot.
She described filming the scenes as “the most horrific four weeks” of her life but things have hardly improved much for Samantha Womack since the cameras stopped rolling. The actress, whom many still know by her maiden name of Samantha Janus, has been pictured returning to her London home looking increasingly strained as the furore surrounding her EastEnders storyline continues to escalate.
Few by now will be oblivious to the soap opera’s plot that has caused so much controversy since it was aired over the new year. It involves Samantha’s character Ronnie Branning losing her newborn son to cot death and then, in a particularly distasteful twist, secretly swapping her dead child with the healthy son of her neighbour Kat Moon. The episodes have provoked a national outcry with more than 6,000 complaints to the BBC, while groups such as Mumsnet have branded it “cynical”, “ill-formed” and have complained at the way it has portrayed grieving mothers as “unhinged”.
Screenwriters are said to be in revolt and the BBC has now promised to bring the storyline to a swift end.
Samantha for her part has revealed she will be leaving the soap in May, although her motives for doing so have been rather blurred. Originally it was suggested she was acting out of principle because she thought her scenes pushed the boundaries too far and she was sensitive to the reactions of other parents, particularly those who had dealt with cot death. It was reported she insisted she was “a mother first and an actress second”.
She may indeed cherish these sentiments but her agent Michael Wiggs has subsequently denied the row prompted her decision, saying: “There’s no truth whatsoever in any suggestion that Sam is ‘quitting’ East-Enders over the current storyline. Sam’s contract comes to a natural end later this year and she will be taking a break from the show.”
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