Nation mourns Ritchie’s departure

Australian audiences bid farewell to actress

SYDNEY — Anywhere else the news would barely have made a ripple, but in Australia the news that Kate Ritchie is leaving “Home and Away” has dominated headlines.Ritchie joined the internationally successful sudser when it began in 1988 at age 10, in the role of Sally Fletcher. Two decades later Ritchie, and fellow cast mate Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart), hold the record for playing the longest continuous role in drama Down Under.

Seven’s director of programming and production, Tim Worner says, “It almost feels like she’s moving out of home so from that angle there is some sorrow but we are also genuinely excited for her as well.”

Ritchie will be seen on Aussie screens until early next year, but refused to divulge her plans.

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