Actor Sam Strike confirms exit for gay Eastenders character

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Eastenders actor Sam Strike, who plays gay character Johnny Carter on the soap, has confirmed his exit from the show.

The 20-year-old joined the BBC soap in December last year as Carter, and has won acclaim for a storyline that saw him come out to his father, played by Danny Dyer.

The show received a torrent of homophobic abuse on Twitter in January this year, when Strike’s character locked lips with Danny Pennant (Gary Lucy).

However, the BBC told PinkNews that only 2 complaints were made about the kiss out of approximately 7.9 million viewers.

Gary Lucy had said: “There were a few on Twitter still living in the dark ages but on the whole, people were okay.”

Today Sam Strike confirmed his departure from the show in an upcoming storyline – which is currently being kept under wraps.

He said: “Thanks for all the love this year guys. Means the world. Decided to bow out. Couldn’t have done it without you all.

“And of course tremendous love to my Carter family. True love.”

An EastEnders spokesperson said: “We can confirm that Sam will be leaving EastEnders. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Paying tribute to Sam Strike, Danny Dyer praised his acting in the coming out scene.

He told the Radio Times: “For him, as an actor, that was a turning point. Acting isn’t all about speaking. It’s also about listening and reacting.

“And, in that scene, he got such a huge amount of emotion across without speaking.

“I had most of the dialogue, but he went toe to toe with me. He’s a very good actor.”