Sources close to the actress, 19, told MailOnline she’s increasingly unlikely to extend her current contract when it expires in October, with bosses set to use her exit as part of the soap’s dramatic
Maisie, who joined EastEnders when she was just six, has ambitions of starring on the big-screen and is hoping to crack Hollywood with a major film role.
Farewell! Strictly star Maisie Smith is set to quit EastEnders after 13 years on the soap as she vows to crack Hollywood with a major film role
The soap star is hoping she could follow in the footsteps of her former co-stars, including Ben Hardy and Himesh Patel who featured in box office hits X-Men: Apocalypse and Yesterday.
A source said: ‘Maisie is hugely ambitious and wants to test herself away from soaps.
‘Starring in movies is a personal goal and seeing how well Ben and Himesh have done, it’s given her hope she could be the next box office star from EastEnders.
Off she goes! Sources told MailOnline she’s unlikely to extend her current contract after her profile skyrocketed following her Strictly Come Dancing stint last year (pictured)
‘The only stumbling block is whether COVID-19 and the knock-on effect of the pandemic will dilute the pool of acting opportunities.
‘If it remains bleak, the sensible move might be staying put for another year. But the intention is to leave in October.’
Maisie’s profile rocketed following her appearance on the 2020 series of Strictly Come Dancing in which she finished runner-up to winner Bill Bailey.
Her management have held talks with various clothing and make-up companies regarding lucrative branding deals she’ll be allowed to take on once out of her BBC contract, which has strict rules against advertising.
Sweet: Maisie (pictured far left in 2011) joined EastEnders in 2008 when she was just six years old, and after leaving in 2014 returned four years later
However, MailOnline understands fashion endorsements are not the main incentive behind her decision to leave, with acting ambitions the overriding reason.
It’s understood Maisie does not want her character Tiffany Butcher-Baker killed off, as she wants to leave the door open for a return to Albert Square.
Given she’s been such a fixture on the BBC soap for the majority of her life, Maisie hopes EastEnders bosses will grant her wish.
The source added: ‘Maisie loves EastEnders and idolises some of her co-stars, some of whom have been great role models for her.
‘She believes the soap has been the perfect place to learn her trade and she owes them so much. Leaving will be a wrench but at least she knows she could return.’
Ambitious: Sources said Maisie is hoping to land a major film role when she leaves the soap, and has also been in talks with major fashion and makeup brands (pictured in 2019)
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Maisie left the soap once before in 2014 when the Jackson family, including on-screen mum Patsy Palmer who plays Bianca, were written out.
She used her time away from EastEnders to launch a music career before returning to Walford full-time four years later.
In an interview last month, Maisie admitted she was keen to explore other roles.
Sticking around? In an interview last month, Maisie admitted she was keen to explore other roles, adding: ‘For right now I’m happy because EastEnders want me still’
In 2010 the soap’s bright young female star Lacey Turner, who plays Stacey Slater, quit to play the lead part in BBC drama Our Girl, but returned to Walford in 2014.
In 2018, actress Jacqueline Jossa left after playing Lauren Branning for eight years and went on to win the 2019 series of I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! and become the face of several fashion ranges.
Both EastEnders and Maisie’s representatives told MailOnline they ‘don’t discuss contracts’ when asked about her future on the soap.
Can she come back? It’s understood Maisie does not want her character Tiffany Butcher-Baker killed off, as she wants to leave the door open for a return to Albert Square