Martine McCutcheon has said she is still shocked by the way in which she learned she would be leaving EastEnders nearly two decades ago.
The actress played Tiffany Mitchell on the BBC soap from 1995 but learned her character was being written out after hearing it announced on the radio in the autumn of 1998.
Loose Women panellist and singer McCutcheon told The Daily Mirror: “As an actress you never take for granted that you are ever going to be in a job for more than two minutes, but it was the way I was told by listening to the radio. And none of the other cast members believed me.
“They were like ‘I cannot believe you didn’t tell us’ and I was like: ‘No, I am so embarrassed.’ It was the way it was done.
“At any time they can get rid of you. Nobody is the star of that show – the show is the star.”
Viewers watched in their millions on New Year’s Eve 1998 as barmaid Tiffany was killed after being run over by Frank Butcher (Mike Reid), following a fall-out with husband Grant Mitchell (Ross Kemp).
McCutcheon, 41, said that working on the soap gave her a heightened sense of how hardworking its stars are and that her other jobs since EastEnders have been a “breeze”.
She said: “The last thing I ever wanted to do was soap, but the good thing that came out of it was that I had this whole new respect for the actors that work there.
“You do 22 scenes a day, they are constantly changing your lines, your scenes… and you have to be on it!
“The discipline is unbelievable. And if you can do that, anything else since has been a breeze.”
McCutcheon is enjoying a pop music career revival and is set to release her new album Lost And Found in August.