Beloved soap star 'killed off ' for challenging bosses who claimed sacking 'served her right'

A celebrity agent has revealed how one "soap icon" was shockingly killed off after she questioned the direction of her character.

Friends to the stars, Melanie Blake, said the actress in question was allegedly told "she was lucky to have had the job" after she tried to change the course of her character's story.

Blake, who has worked with the likes of EastEnders' Gillian Taylforth and Emmerdale's Claire King, claimed their voice was dismissed and they were eventually bumped off in a savage show of power by a 'clueless' producer.

The best-selling author spoke her mind in an interview with and lifted the lid on how the soap world hires and fires its biggest stars.

She said: "One producer from a major soap – an actress who was 60 voiced an issue with her character and he basically killed her off. He said in the meeting room: 'she is lucky to have had a job anyway, that’ll serve her right for questioning my methods.'

"You hear many producers bragging about firing people. Brian Park (Coronation Street 1997-98) was always proud of it, he dubbed himself the axe man. But these are peoples’ jobs and lives."

In her illustrious career, which includes running multi-million pound agency The Urban Associate, Blake managed to persuade EastEnders and Emmerdale to bring characters Kathy Beale and Kim Tate back to screens.

But it took years of pitching the ideas to reluctant producers, some of whom she accused of making huge mistakes and wrongly giving stars the chop.

Giving EastEnders' first Aids victim Mark Fowler as another example, she said: "Look at Mark Fowler in EastEnders and the HIV storyline they explored and yet one producer came in and fired Todd Carty.

"They killed him off – at the time, treatments had changed and advanced, he should still be alive, and still be in the show representing what it’s like to be living with HIV. Some producer has robbed us of that.

"It’s my big bugbear and I know they’ll be reading this and I don’t give a flying f**k! Loads of producers come in and know nothing at all about the soap; sometimes they don’t even watch television full stop!

"It drives me mad. I watch television and that’s why I am successful, it was my escape in my childhood. I have always turned to it. It shaped me. The people I represented – the audience cared so much about them but the bosses didn’t."

She added: "Look at Ronnie and Roxy in EastEnders – it was truly one of the biggest mistakes ever in the history of soap."

But in one of her success stories the passionate agent convinced soap bosses to resurrect deceased Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) after the character was said to have died in a car crash.

Blake said: "Let’s talk about Gillian Taylforth, and nobody knows this, I have never told this story.

"She wasn’t meant to be killed off and Gillian always intended to return at some point but Adam Woodyatt went to the bosses and said he was tired of the stuff he was getting and wanted something juicy so they went with killing off his mum off screen.

She added: "It took 15 years of pitching to get around that mistake. And she hasn’t changed a bit – Ian Beale looks like her dad. It’s dog eat dog, they’re best of friends but it’s dog eat dog. If it hadn’t been for me pitching over and over to get Kathy back and it wasn’t easy – it was only after they saw her in Hollyoaks that they realised how much EastEnders was missing her.

"The same with Claire King and Emmerdale – producer after producer after producer turned it down, saying they didn’t want to tarnish a legacy. But trust me, it’s because she was older.

"It finally took female producers to bring her back and she’s smashing it isn’t she?’

Melanie, whose first job in showbiz was as a producer on Top Of The Pops, has released two books.

The Thunder Girls is about women in music which has been turned into a play starring Beverley Callard, Coleen Nolan and Claire Richards, and Sunday Times bestselling novel called Ruthless Women is based on her 15 year experience in the soap industry.

An EastEnders spokesperson declined to comment to Metro regarding Kathy Beale’s death storyline.

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