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EastEnder Joe is going out with a BANG!; WEEKEND TV.

WHEN it comes to soap showdowns they don't come much more explosive than the revenge of the Walford One.

EastEnders pin-up Joe Absolom takes his leave from the BBC 1 soap next week, but before he goes he makes sure night-club owner Steve Owen gets his comeuppance.

Steve, alias former Spandau Ballet band member Martin Kemp, was, of course, responsible for sending Joe's character, Matthew, to prison for a murder he did not commit.

Steve thought he had literally got away with murder, but his past misdeeds finally catch up with him on Thursday when he finds himself held hostage at gunpoint.

Joe is delighted he will be leaving EastEnders with a bang and not a whimper, but says the decision to go was not an easy one to make.

"To have a partner in crime like Martin Kemp was just great and the opportunity to work with people like Mike Reid, Steve McFadden and Barbara Windsor blew my mind," says the enthusiastic 21-year-old.

"I'm really sad to leave such a fantastic cast and I love the programme but it was time to move on."

Once he had made his mind up to go, Joe wanted to leave on a high.

"I wanted it to be a totally blow-your-mind storyline," he says with a grin, "this is why I knew it was the right time to move on.

"I really felt I couldn't top recent scenes and wanted to go out on a high and be remembered for work that I'm proud of."

EastEnders may be his biggest role, but Joe is no newcomer to the world of showbusiness.

The son of Lewisham teachers was picked as the Sun Pat kid when he was just 10 years old and he went on to the Shredded Wheat advert before popping up in acting roles in drama like The Bill and Dangerfield.

Then EastEnders and the part of Matthew Rose came along and Joe has never looked back. He says he'd now like to go on to star in the next Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels-type film and is looking forward to spending time with his band, Hung Up.

But he is not ruling out a possible return to Albert Square in the future.

"I've been told the door is always open for me, so you never know," he says.

"Also, I hope to still see some of the cast, so I like to think it won't be my last visit."

Meanwhile, the young heart-throb has his eye on a few mementoes from the soap.

"I'm taking the sign on my dressing room door, Matthew Rose's "tear- stick" and a signed Spandau Ballet CD - not," jokes Joe.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:McMULLEN, MARION
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 29, 2000
Words:446
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