EastEnders star Jessie Wallace has been suspended from the BBC1 soap.
The troubled actress, who has played Kat Slater on and off for nearly 20 years, will be temporarily written out of upcoming plots.
An insider claims that show bosses hauled her off into a crisis meeting after an incident while filming in which her behaviour was called into question.
The well-placed source said Jessie was told during the crunch talks that she would be suspended for two months.
“Bosses were left with no choice but to discipline her,” added the insider. “During the meeting she was told to sort herself out before returning to work.
“Scriptwriters are currently coming up with a storyline to explain Kat’s temporary exit from Walford.”
Series chiefs were relieved that Jessie, 48, had already filmed her scenes on the River Thames for the soap’s 35th Anniversary Special on February 19.
The source said: “She’s one of EastEnders’ biggest stars and this huge anniversary is such an exciting time for everyone working on the show.
“There’s a real buzz around the set, as everyone is very much looking forward to celebrating the milestone.
“Thankfully all of the episodes she appears in on the boat along the Thames have been shot, so her suspension didn’t cause any chaos to the soap’s big birthday week.
“Nonetheless it’s such a shame Jessie’s out for a while because this really is such an exciting and historic time for everyone working on the show.
She’s one of the most talented actresses out there and her character is a soap icon.
“Yet now she won’t be a part of all the celebrations being planned behind the scenes.”
Show bosses have already confirmed that the anniversary storyline will involve one character dying in a boat tragedy. Jessie previously hit disciplinary trouble when she arrived drunk at the British Soap Awards in 2018.
She was ordered out and left before the ceremony started.
The actress has been at the centre of some of EastEnders’ biggest storylines since arriving with the rest of the Slater clan in 2000.
She was involved in one of the soap’s most iconic moments when daughter Zoe yelled at her, “You ain’t my muvva”, and Kat screamed back, “Yes I am”.
Jessie and co-star Shane Richie, 55, who played her on-screen husband Alfie Moon, grew to become one of show’s most popular couples ever.
Shane left EastEnders for good last year and Jessie’s character is now in a relationship with market stall holder Kush Kazemi.
An EastEnders spokeswoman said last night when asked about the suspension: “We do not comment on artists’ contracts.” A spokesperson for Jessie declined to comment.