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EASTENDERS was dealt a blow after an actress hired to play Janine Butcher's battle-axe gran pulled out after a WEEK.

Bosses had to scramble around for an 11th-hour replacement for veteran Margaret Tyzack.

The Sun revealed in February that the 79-year-old was taking on the role of feisty Lydia Simmonds. She was hailed as a major new character in the BBC1 soap and first appeared last Tuesday.

But Margaret has now gone due to an undisclosed "personal matter" and her last scenes will air tomorrow night.

A source said: "Margaret is an actress with a brilliant pedigree.

"But after shooting a number of scenes it was decided we should recast the role. We want to keep Lydia as we have lots of plans for her.

"We all wish Margaret the best."

The part will now be played by Heather Chasen, 83, who starred in classic shows including Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars and Maigret.

Her first scenes will be shown in two weeks.

A spokesman said: "Due to a personal matter Margaret Tyzack had to finish filming earlier than planned."

EastEnders is enjoying bumper ratings, with Monday's episode pulling in ten million viewers.

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Enders’ granny has ended it · British Soap Discussion