EastEnders' Natalie Cassidy takes a break from soap as character Sonia Fowler struggles to cope as NHS nurse

EASTENDERS fan favourite Natalie Cassidy won’t be seen on screen until early Spring after the soap’s writers decided to give her character, Sonia Fowler, a break.

The trumpet-playing Albert Square stalwart is expected to be off screen from the early New Year.

Natalie, 37, joined the soap in 1993 and has been on the Square ever since.

Show insiders revealed the break was not out of the ordinary but fans of the show may be disappointed.

A source explained: “Natalie like other actors on EastEnders was given a break for a few months.

“In real time she is back filming in the next few weeks but on screen she will leave and be off for a few months because the show is filmed so far ahead.

“She’ll be back again early Spring.

“Giving actors on the show breaks is nothing unusual and when it’s a quieter period for their character, it makes more sense to rest the characters rather than them not doing much on set.”

In recent weeks Sonia has been seen struggling to cope as an NHS nurse.

She is seen snapping at colleagues and patients at the surgery and when she’s confronted over her behaviour she breaks down in tears.

Sonia was then seen opening up to Martin about the job and viewers were left wondering what decision she will make.

Earlier this year Natalie told The Sun how the BBC soap had acted as her own drama school.

In an open letter, Natalie wrote: “I feel so privileged to have been associated with EastEnders for 26 years — it has been my drama school.

“Dame Barbara Windsor and Wendy Richard taught me everything I needed to know when I started.

“They taught me about respect for others in our workplace, and both repeatedly drummed it into me not to be late, to learn my lines and arrive on time.

“These strong matriarchs will never leave me. Strong women are the lynchpin of Albert Square.”

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