© BBC/Jack Barnes
|Portrayed by||Lorna Fitzgerald|
|Introduced by||Kate Harwood|
|First Appearance||3 July 2006|
|Last Appearance||19 January 2018|
|Cause/Reason||Life support withdrawn after being declared brainstem dead when she fell from the Queen Victoria roof|
|Address||25 Albert Square|
|Date of Birth||23 June 1996|
|Date of Death||19 January 2018|
|Occupation|| Vet Receptionist (2015-2017)|
Kitchen Assistant (2016)
Abigail “Abi” Branning was the daughter of Tanya Cross and Max Branning. She was a popular girl in Albert Square, having many boyfriends including Jay Brown and Ben Mitchell. She also had an affair with Steven Beale.
When Abi was five, she had her appendix removed, she had to spend her 5th birthday in hospital. Her father Max made sure she still had a party, such as buying balloons and attempting to make a birthday cake in the shape of a dinosaur. Although the cake was not very well made and didn't taste great, Abi still loved it as it was made for her by her father.
Abi moves to Albert Square with her parents Max & Tanya Branning and her sister Lauren where she befriends Ben Mitchell. Abi is hit by Dean Wicks's car, suffering from a broken wrist, cuts & bruises, but she recovers with no long-term impairment.
Abi later learns that Ben's father, Phil Mitchell's girlfriend, Stella Crawford is abusing him and due to this, Abi and Ben plan to run away, but they fail as they are caught by their parents. Abi then stands up to Stella and tells Ben to do the same, leading Stella to kill herself when Ben reveals the abuse.
Abi begins to live sporadically with each parent, frequently defending Max to Tanya and Lauren until Max and Tanya reunite in 2009, however Abi leaves with Tanya after learning of Max's financial problems.
She starts dating Jordan, but months later, he is attacked by Ben with a spanner, leaving him in a coma. They split up, but remain friends. Abi starts to take an interest in Max's lodger Darren Miller, who is left uncomfortable when she tries to kiss him, telling her she is too young and is heartbroken when Darren proposes to Jodie Gold.
Abi forms a close friendship with her mother's fiancé Greg Jessop (Stefan Booth). She later develops a crush on Jay Brown and they begin dating. Believing Jay is only interested in Abi for sex, Max tries to split them up, but fails to do so. Jay and Abi plan to have sex several times, but on each occasion, they are unable to go through with it.
At one time, Jay and Abi cuddle up as they are watching television, but Max believes they are about to have sex, so he throws Jay out and rips Abi's bridesmaid dress to Greg and Tanya's wedding. They go to buy a new one, but they have a car crash on Greg and Tanya's wedding day. They suffer minor injuries and both recover.
Despite Abi's insecurities over Jay's friendship with Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold), she & Jay remain together and eventually Max comes to accept them as a couple. Max and Tanya continue to see each other, but when Tanya gets cancer, she keeps this to herself. Eventually, Greg and Max's fiancé, Vanessa Gold leave Walford when the truth comes out about the affair. Abi, Ben and Lola cause trouble and Abi is arrested for stealing trainers.
When Abi is mugged, Lola teaches her how to self defend. Tanya finds a pregnancy test in the bin and believes it is Abi's, before finding out about her trouble causing and calls Abi a slapper, before Lauren (now played by Jacqueline Jossa) reveals to the family that Tanya has cancer. Abi is hurt by this, but is pleased when Max and Tanya reconcile.
Jay proposes to Abi and she accepts, but she is faced with a dilemma when she is offered the chance to go to Costa Rica to help with sea turtle conservation. Jay gives Abi an ultimatum, threatening to break up with her if she goes to Costa Rica but she goes regardless. When she returns several weeks later, she finds out that Jay has been involved in the murder of Heather Trott.
Abi is upset and slams the door in his face when he tries to see her. She goes to visit him but when Tanya discovers they have been seeing each other, she bans her from speaking to him. However, they eventually reunite.
Abi (along with the rest of her family) are devastated to discover that when Max was away in Manchester, he married Kirsty Branning. She meets her cousin Dexter Hartman, not knowing they are related and this causes Jay to be jealous until the truth of their relationship is revealed. Tanya ejects Max from the family home after discovering he loves Kirsty.
Abi loses her virginity to Jay much to her parents' disappointment. She tries to support Lauren with her drinking problem, however, this ends badly when Lauren destroys Abi's revision notes.
Abi is distraught when Tanya leaves Walford with Lauren and Oscar as Lauren goes into a rehabilitation clinic in Exeter, so Max decides to move back in with her after Kirsty confesses that she has lied about being pregnant. She is defensive of her father and she argues with Kirsty about it, blaming her for her family's breakdown.
While on holiday with Jay and their friends, Abi thinks she could be pregnant. Jay hopes to be a father while Abi would prefer to have an abortion. She is not pregnant, but ends their relationship, believing that they want different things. However, they soon reconcile.
Max is framed for causing a car crash that leaves Phil hospitalised. Abi and Lauren, who returns from rehabilitation, struggle to pay Max's legal costs, as well as their bills.
She receives her exam results and discovers she has not gained the grades to go to university to become a vet, but Lauren, believing that Abi has passed the exams, throws a party, during which Abi blurts out that she blames Lauren for her poor results because she has an alcohol problem.
Abi decides to continue studying, but when Max goes to prison for a while she has to take a job, and struggles to find time for her studies. However, Max is proven innocent, and returns home to support his family.
In an argument between Jay and Dexter, Abi discovers that on their holiday Jay kissed a barmaid while they were arguing over the suspected pregnancy. She also finds out that Lola knew and furiously confronts her best friend. However, after a heart-to-heart with Jay, they decide to work through their issues and she fixes things with Dexter and Lola as well. She also takes in a stray dog, Tramp.
When Lauren's friend, Lucy Beale is murdered, Max supports her father Ian Beale through his grief. Seeing this, Abi calls him hypocritical, before revealing that she saw him kissing Lucy days before she was killed and they were having an affair. Max urges Abi to keep it a secret, but Phil discovers the affair from Jay and tells Ian.
Abi proceeds to move into Cora's new flat with Lauren. She eventually forgives Max and returns home. Her final A Level results come through and she tells everyone that she has got what she needed to get into the University of Liverpool.
However, Abi later confides in Jay that she has been lying, as not to disappoint her family. He encourages her to go through clearing and she gets a position doing a similar course at the University of Bolton. Jay decides to go with Abi (which Max at first is opposed to), but he comes around eventually.
Ben returns from prison and reunites Jay and Phil, and Jay agrees to attend Phil's wedding to Sharon Rickman, holding off on going to Bolton. At the wedding, Phil's aunt, Sal Martin, comments that she believed Lola to be Jay's girlfriend.
Then, Ben then reveals he thinks Jay is in love with Lola, and he confesses this to Abi when she confronts him. He then ends things to stay in Walford. Devastated, she wants to leave for Bolton immediately, but when Max refuses to take her she drives the car herself, accidentally running over Tramp, killing him.
Abi begins a relationship with Ben (now played by Harry Reid) which is discovered by Emma Summerhayes who informs Max of the relationship. Max demands that Abi does not see Ben anymore, which Abi refuses to do. Abi later discovers that Max used Ben to sign over part of Phil's businesses to him.
In February 2015, Abi is accused by Max of killing Lucy. Abi did not kill Lucy, but it is revealed that on the night Lucy died, Abi had a confrontation with Lucy about her affair with Max, which resulted in she slapping Lucy. After Max tells her that Tanya would like her to move to Devon with her, she refuses and instead moves in with Ben and his family.
After she moves in, Ben reveals to her that he might still be gay and is worried he will never get over his homosexuality but Abi assures him that they will make things work. She continuously mocks Jay and accuses him of being jealous of her relationship with Ben.
Jay tries to make Abi see that Ben is not interested in her, but she pretends not to care about what Jay says. Abi discovers a letter from Sharon's birth mother and Sharon says that she intends on meeting her birth father after discovering that her mother has died.
When Paul Coker (Jonny Labey) arrives in Walford, Abi suspects Ben of cheating on her with Paul. She and Ben have sex so Ben can convince her he is not gay. Following Ben's arrest for Lucy's murder, Abi tells Phil that Max assaulted Lucy to get Ben off.
Despite being innocent, Max turns himself in and is formally charged while Ben is released. Stacey visits Max, who tells her that he thinks Abi killed Lucy. Stacey confronts Abi, who attacks Stacey, blaming her for her parents' split and Bradley's death, and later vents to Carol that she does not think Max cares about her.
Carol visits Max in prison, where he informs her that the reason he thinks Abi killed Lucy is because she attacked and beat her on the night of the murder. After confronting Abi on this, Carol agrees that she has been out of control lately and advises her to call Tanya for moral support.
During the phone call, Abi finds out that not only is Oscar ill, but Cora had apparently not stayed with Tanya at her house as she had earlier said.
Abi, Carol and Jane Beale (Laurie Brett) find Cora living rough and bring her home. She reveals she saw Max and Abi cleaning the car lot after Lucy was killed, forcing Abi to admit that Max and Lucy had argued there and she was helping Max clean Lucy's blood. Abi then gives a statement to the police. Max is later found guilty of the murder.
Ben and Abi continue their relationship, but Ben is still secretly seeing Paul. Babe Smith offers Abi work in the pub kitchen, and Abi tells Babe that she is able to turn a blind eye to Ben's homosexuality as long as he loves her.
However, when Abi finds a present that Ben has got for Paul, she realises he has feelings for Paul and confides in Babe, who helps her to publicly announce that she is pregnant. Ben asks Abi to have a termination but then changes his mind, saying he wants the baby. Abi then goes to Babe, panicking because she has lied and is not really pregnant.
When Ben accompanies her to a doctor's appointment, she gets him out of the room and confesses her lie to the doctor, who encourages her to be honest, but she then tells Ben the baby is due in October. Abi plans to get pregnant by Ben, but when he admits he may have caught an STI from a stranger, she is unable to have sex with him, so Babe tells her to get pregnant by another man.
Babe forces Abi into getting drunk and after a drunk Lee Carter compliments her, they have unprotected sex. However, Abi does not get pregnant. She decides to tell Ben the truth, but as she is about to do so, he tells her he has caught chlamydia. Abi later tests positive for chlamydia and realises that Lee may have caught it too.
Abi panics to Babe that Ben will discover she is not pregnant, so during an argument between Ben and Phil, Babe pushes Abi into Ben as he is pushed by Phil, knocking her to the ground. Babe takes Abi away from the square, and on their return, Abi tells Ben she has had a miscarriage. When she later sees Ben being comforted by Paul, she feels uneasy.
Abi and Babe discover that Ben's half sister Louise Mitchell has been using Phil's credit card, so they force her to return everything she has bought. Babe asks Abi for a favour, but Abi realises that Babe has already assumed that she would say yes, so calls Babe a user.
As revenge, Babe sends Ben a letter, telling him of the fake pregnancy. Louise finds the letter and blackmails Abi, telling her to move away with Ben.
Abi tries to persuade Ben into moving but he refuses, saying he needs to be there for alcoholic Phil, and Abi tells Louise that Ben will always believe his girlfriend over his sister. Abi tells Babe that she is worried that Ben will find out, so Babe suggests that Abi tells Ben the truth. However, Abi allows Louise to continue using Phil's credit card.
Later, Abi catches Ben and Louise arguing and assumes it is over the letter, and she inadvertently reveals she was never pregnant, but Ben was referring to Phil's credit card.
In The Vic, Ben gets drunk and kisses Abi in the toilets and starts to undress her, but then drags her into the pub in her underwear and reveals via the karaoke microphone that she made up her pregnancy.
Abi is humilated and is taken to Dot Branning's (June Brown) house by her uncle Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), however, an enraged Phil takes her away in his car, but is stopped by Jay, who insists that enough people have been hurt. When Bobby Beale confesses to killing Lucy, Max is released, but refuses to see Abi or Lauren.
Abi gets her job back at The Queen Vic and celebrates with Lauren and Whitney Dean, Lee's pregnant fiancée. Abi drunkenly confesses to Lauren about her one-night stand with Lee, so she urges Abi to confess to Whitney as Whitney has caught chlamydia from Lee. Abi does so but this results in much resentment. Babe emotionally blackmails Abi, forcing her to resign.
Abi exposes Babe's secrets to the pub's landlord, Mick Carter, so tells her that she can keep her job, but this causes tension when she is later threatened by Babe.
Death and Legacy
In December 2017, after Max's misdeeds were revealed to the entire Square, Abi is incredibly confused as to why everyone is being so pushy with her. She catches up with Lauren and asks her what’s going on, and Lauren tells her and says she is going round to talk to Max about it. Abi says she will come, but Lauren says no. Abi snaps, and says she isn't going to let Lauren shut her out this time. They go to Max's house, and demand the truth. He gives it to them, and they are horrified. Lauren shows him the contract Josh gave her, and holds a lighter near it. Max tells her it is worth a lot of money, and she says she doesn't care, as long as he tells her the truth. Max tells her he did, and then Abi runs over to him and tells Lauren to back off. Lauren tells Jack and Max about Abi's baby, to her horror. However, Max already knows, and Abi and Lauren are annoyed. Max won't tell them why, so Lauren threatens to burn the contract. He doesn't tell them the truth. Lauren asks why he did it, and he says it was for the money, but Lauren thinks there is more to it. She throws the contract at him, and she shouts. He rips the paper up and says it was for revenge. Lauren is shocked. Stacey comes over, and Lauren shouts at her until she leaves, followed by Lauren and Abi.
On Christmas Day, Max goes round to each of his daughters’ houses with a present. Abi rejects him, but takes the present anyway, whilst Lauren tells him she thinks he needs professional help.
Abi later comes to the Fowler/Slater household to share Christmas dinner with Max and the Fowler family. Tanya tells Stacey that Max killed Steven, which the entire Fowler household and Abi overhear. Tanya takes Abi and Martin kicks Max out.
Abi tells Lauren, Ian and Kathy about Max killing Steven. Ian runs out and tries to kill Max - the Brannings have to stop him.
Max goes up to the roof of the Queen Victoria and teeters on the edge. Lauren, Tanya, Stacey and Abi spot him and Lauren and Abi climb to the edge, hoping to talk him down. They manage to, but as they all climb back over, Lauren slips and grabs Abi. They fall to the ground, to Tanya, Max and Stacey's shock.
Tanya watches on as Abi has a scan on her baby. The baby's heartbeat can be heard, however Abi is still unconscious. At the end of the episode, Abi is seen having a CT scan.
Abi later was declared brainstem dead and they doctors delivered her premature daughter. They told Max there was zero chance of Abi regaining consciousness again, but Max was not willing to let Abi go. After being talked to by Jack, Dot, Lauren and Abi's doctors. Max eventually lets the doctors turn off her life support machine.
Max chosen to turn her life support off at 8:32 p.m. (the time Abi was born). The Branning family watch Abi peacefully die from her bedside. Following her funeral, Abi is toasted in The Queen Vic and her friends let off white balloons, while Max names her baby Abi Branning, in her memory.
A year later, Max still blames Bobby for ruining his relationship with his daughters, and ultimately leading to the cause of Abi's death.
Tramp - Run over by a car driven by Abi.