Casualty actor Nigel Harman has quit after just one year on the BBC soap.

Harman, 50, has said that his time as consultant Max Cristie on the popular medical drama is now 'done' for the time being.

The actor, who has signed up as a contestant on this year's Latin and ballroom competition Strictly Come Dancing, will exit the programme in what has been described as a "gripping storyline".

His final scenes will reportedly air next February.

Nigel confirmed to the Daily Star Sunday newspaper: “My time on Casualty is done for the time being.

"There are no plans for me to go back at the moment."

Programme insiders admitted the news will come as a huge blow to fans.

A source said: "Nigel is so popular – getting him on board was such a coup.

"A lot of viewers have been tuning in just to see him.

"This news will be heartbreaking for a lot of viewers."

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The announcement comes as the former EastEnders actor admitted that he is "amazed, excited, and terrified" about taking part in Strictly.

He said: "As an armchair fan of the show I have watched in awe as people have twirled and gyrated across the screen. And now it's my turn ... gulp!

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Nigel has sought advice from his fellow Casualty co-star Charles Venn, who played Ray Dixon in EastEnders and previously took part in 'Strictly' - but admitted he didn't like what he had to say.

Speaking on Lorraine, Nigel said: "Charles Venn took me aside and he went really serious. He said, 'You've got to do cardio at the gym. Cardio, cardio.' I thought, 'Oh my God.'"

Nigel recently graduated as a meditation teacher, and admitted he has a feeling he is "going to need" such skills amid his 'Strictly' stint.