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I agonised on my own for a week over quitting EastEnders.. I'm sad and a bit scared but I want to play strong women, not weak ones; EXCLUSIVE: TAMZIN OUTHWAITE ON HER BIG DECISION.



Byline: NICOLA METHVEN TV Editor

ALONE with her thoughts, Tamzin Outhwaite Tamzin Outhwaite (born on November 5, 1970) is an English actress best known for playing Melanie Owen in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Early career
Outhwaite attended the Stagestruck Theatre Company as a teenager.
 steeled herself to carry through the toughest decision she has ever had to make.

Not even her closest friends among the EastEnders cast knew the soap's biggest star was thinking of quitting.

She had shut herself away from the world to decide her future - and when tortured Tamzin finally realised it was time to leave the hit show she was overwhelmed o·ver·whelm  
tr.v. o·ver·whelmed, o·ver·whelm·ing, o·ver·whelms
1. To surge over and submerge; engulf: waves overwhelming the rocky shoreline.

2.
a.
 with heartbreak.

It had been the most difficult week of her life.

And after yesterday's sensational Mirror exclusive on her shock Albert Square Albert Square is the fictional location of the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. It is ostensibly located in the equally fictional London borough of Walford in London's East End.  departure, the blonde actress voted the sexiest woman on TV revealed: "No one at the show knew I was going until they read it in The Mirror.

"I didn't talk to anyone, not even my family, because I wanted to make the decision by myself.

"I needed to be away from EastEnders, and after filming Red Cap in the summer I took a week off to be alone and I spent the time thinking about it. That's how I came to my decision.

"I hadn't told any of the other cast members. It's just something you hold on to, and I'm sure they understand the situation.

"It's not that I don't trust them - I've been dying to tell them that I'm going, but it's tricky.

"I'd have told Lucy (Benjamin, who plays Lisa Shaw Lisa Shaw might refer to the following people:
  • Lisa Fowler (née Shaw) Eastenders character
  • Lisa Shaw Bondage model
  • Lisa Shaw (singer) with Naked Music
), but she's on holiday at the moment so she's not been around."

TAMZIN, who says she is quitting to go for new roles in BBC BBC
 in full British Broadcasting Corp.

Publicly financed broadcasting system in Britain. A private company at its founding in 1922, it was replaced by a public corporation under royal charter in 1927.
 dramas, recalled how she went away into the countryside to make up her mind.

She spent a week of solitude wondering whether she was making the right move. Now she believes she has, but she knows that leaving Eastenders will still be a big wrench wrench
 or spanner

Tool, usually operated by hand, for tightening bolts and nuts. A wrench basically consists of a lever with a notch at one or both ends for gripping the bolt or nut so that it can be twisted by a pull at right angles to the axes of the lever
.

She says: "Part of me feels terribly sad because I'm letting go of something that has fed me for the past three years, that has excited me and exhilarated ex·hil·a·rate  
tr.v. ex·hil·a·rat·ed, ex·hil·a·rat·ing, ex·hil·a·rates
1. To cause to feel happily refreshed and energetic; elate: We were exhilarated by the cool, pine-scented air.
 me.

"I'm a bit scared already - although I've got quite a few months in EastEnders yet, so the fear hasn't really set in.

"But at the same time I'm feeling really enthusiastic about the future."

First we will see the 30-year-old beauty from Essex in Red Cap, a military drama. TV bosses have been so impressed with her performance as Special Investigation Officer Jo McDonagh in the film, to be screened next month, that they are poised to commission a full series.

The only person who knew of her decision to quit Albert Square was show boss John Yorke John Yorke is currently the Controller of Continuing Drama Series and Head of Independent Drama for the BBC.

He joined the BBC in the late 1980s, working initially in radio as a studio manager and then as a producer on BBC Radio 5.
. Tamzin told him last week, but the pair agreed to keep it secret for a few days.

The actress believes that her character Melanie Owen Melanie Jane "Mel" Owen (née Healy, previously Beale) was a fictional character in the popular BBC soap opera EastEnders. She was played by Tamzin Outhwaite.  has gone as far as she can take her.

"To be honest with you, Mel's role in EastEnders has come to a kind of natural end," she says.

"I always said I'd go when I felt that the character had run her course, and I'm going to leave when my contract runs out next year.

"A lot has happened for Mel. She's been married twice, she's slept with her best friend's boyfriend and then she was kidnapped Kidnapped

caught in the intrigues of Scottish factions, David Balfour and Alan Breck are shipwrecked, escape from the king’s soldiers, and undergo great dangers. [Br. Lit.: R. L. Stevenson Kidnapped]

See : Adventurousness
, and I think that those kinds of heights would be difficult to repeat. It's fantastic that she's leaving on a high.

"I've never stayed in a job for three years before, so I think I've done pretty well, really."

Tamzin will be back on screen in Albert Square in three weeks' time. Then she will have around five months to sort out her marriage (or not) with Steve, played by Martin Kemp Martin Kemp may refer to:
  • Martin Kemp (actor), the British musician and actor
  • Martin Kemp (art historian), Professor of the History of Art in the University of Oxford
, before she leaves the show at Easter.

"I think there'll be a good bit happening to Mel before she leaves," she says.

"If you think how much has happened to her in the last three years, I'm sure she'll go through more roller-coaster rides in her final few months.

I CAN'T reveal what it's like for Mel and Steve when she returns, but it won't be a comfortable ride."

Tamzin started her career performing in West End shows Grease and Oliver - and in 1998 she got her big break when she was picked to play man-magnet Melanie.

Since then she's become a household name, and she's enjoyed every minute of her fast ride to stardom star·dom  
n.
1. The status of a performer or entertainer acknowledged as a star.

2. Star performers considered as a group.
.

"I've had the best three years of my life, without a doubt," she says. "I've made some really good friends and I'm very thankful for everything we've done.

"The whole of my career has changed since EastEnders - a whole new door has opened.

"Before, I was very happy with what I was doing, but I didn't have the opportunities that I have now.

"It's not so much that I'm famous, but that I've proved myself in a way that makes people think that I'm versatile enough to do other things.

"There's a whole heap of projects I'm interested in doing at the moment. I'm very interested in playing strong women rather than weaker women."

The EastEnders cast have seen their gruelling gru·el·ing also gru·el·ling  
adj.
Physically or mentally demanding to the point of exhaustion: a grueling campaign.



gru
 filming schedules intensify in·ten·si·fy  
v. in·ten·si·fied, in·ten·si·fy·ing, in·ten·si·fies

v.tr.
1. To make intense or more intense:
 in recent months to cope with the new fourth weekly episode of the soap on Friday nights.

But Tamzin says the extra work is not behind her decision to quit.

She insists: "The schedule will always be heavy when you're in lots of storylines, but this has got nothing to do with the hours and everything to do with me trying new challenges.

"It's about me still being hungry and wanting to go for it now.

"It's not because anyone's upset me or told me my time is up. I've just decided it for myself.

"John's been brilliant and very supportive, and he's told me I can come back if I want, which is brilliant."

Writers are already working on a storyline Noun 1. storyline - the plot of a book or play or film
plot line

plot - the story that is told in a novel or play or movie etc.; "the characters were well drawn but the plot was banal"
 for Martin Kemp's exit next year, following his decision to quit the BBC for ITV (1) See interactive TV.

(2) (iTV) The code name for Apple's video media hub (see Apple TV).
 in a pounds 2million deal.

Now it is likely that he and Mel - currently involved in a huge marital war on screen - will leave the show together in a sensational final storyline.

BUT Tamzin says reports that Steve McFadden Stephen McFadden (born 20 March 1959 in Maida Vale, London) is a well-known English actor best known for playing 'hard man' Phil Mitchell in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. , who plays Phil Mitchell, is leaving the show are wide of the mark.

"Steve isn't leaving, he's really not," she says. "That was just a load of rubbish.

"Martin and I are in very similar situations with our characters.

"We came in at a similar time, and now it looks like we'll leave at a similar time, too.

"Mel and Steve had some kind of aura, a chemistry, that was unique. I was really proud of it."

Now it seems the only thing that remains to be sorted out for Tamzin is her love life.

Eventually she'd like to get married and have children, but when asked if there is any chance of her getting hitched in the near future she just laughs.

"Me? Plans for marriage? I'd need to find a man first!" she says.

"Whatever anyone says about it, I'm properly single, and happily so at the moment."

And with soap bosses promising not to kill off her character so that she can return if she wants, will we ever see the lovely Mel again?

"All I'm saying about that is who knows?," replies Tamzin.

"I can't predict - but never say never."

CAPTION(S):

STORMY storm·y  
adj. storm·i·er, storm·i·est
1. Subject to, characterized by, or affected by storms; tempestuous.

2.
: With Steve (Martin Kemp); A HUNGER FOR FAME; Tamzin wants to prove herself in a string of drama roles; SERIOUS: In new drama Red Cap
COPYRIGHT 2001 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 6, 2001
Words:1238
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