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Lauren Branning
Laurenbranningsetpromotional
© BBC
Portrayed by Madeline Duggan (2006–2010)
Jacqueline Jossa (2010–2018)
Introduced by Kate Harwood (2006)
Bryan Kirkwood (2010)
Gender Female Female
First Appearance 3rd July 2006
Last Appearance 16 February 2018
Cause/Reason Left after the funeral of her sister Abi for a fresh start
Duration 2006–2018
Address 5 Albert Square (2006-15)
45 Albert Square (2015-18)
New Zealand (2015-16, 2018-)
Status Alive
Age 25
Date of Birth 30 March 1994
Occupation Student
Market trader
Beautician
Company director
Waitress
Website designer
Classification Former; regular
Relationships
RomancesPeter Beale (2007–10, 2014–16, 2018-)
Darren Miller (2010)
Ryan Malloy (2011)
Anthony Moon (2011–12)
Joey Branning (2012–13)
Jake Stone (2013–14)
Dean Wicks (2014)
Steven Beale (2016–17)
Josh Hemmings (2017–18)
SonsLouie Beale
FatherMax Branning
MotherTanya Cross
StepfatherGreg Jessop (2011-12)
StepmotherKirsty Branning (2011-14)
BrothersOscar Branning
SistersAbi Branning
Half-BrothersBradley Branning
GrandfathersJim Branning
William Cross
GrandmothersReenie Branning
Cora Cross
Dot Cotton (step)
UnclesDerek Branning
Jack Branning
AuntsSuzy Branning
Carol Jackson
April Branning
Ava Hartman
Rainie Cross
NiecesAbi Branning
First cousinsJoey Branning
Alice Branning
Bianca Butcher
Robbie Jackson
Sonia Fowler
Billie Jackson
Penny Branning
Amy Mitchell
Ricky Mitchell
James Branning
Dexter Hartman
Other relativesNatasha Butcher
Liam Butcher
Tiffany Butcher
Morgan Butcher
Whitney Dean (adoptive)
Bex Fowler

Lauren Branning is the daughter of Tanya Cross and Max Branning, sister of Bradley, Abi and Oscar and mother of Louie. It's confirmed Jacqueline Jossa is returning as Lauren for Peter Beale's return.

Character

She is a fictional character from the BBC soap EastEnders. She first appeared on 3 July 2006 and departed in 2010 played by Madeline Duggan and returned a few months later as played by Jacqueline Jossa. Her storylines have included alcoholism, supporting her mother Tanya Branning through cervical cancer, her friendships with Lucy Beale and Whitney Dean, an incestuous relationship with her cousin Joey Branning, and an affair with married alcoholic Jake Stone.

Storylines

The eldest child and daughter of Max and Tanya Branning, Lauren moves to Walford with her parents and younger sister, Abi Branning in July 2006. In 2007, Lauren discovers that her father is having an affair with her half-brother Bradley Branning's fiancée, Stacey Slater, after accidentally filming them kissing on her video camera. Lauren burns the footage onto a DVD and it is played on Christmas Day, exposing Max and Stacey's affair and resulting in the breakdown of Max and Tanya's marriage. Romantically involved with Peter Beale, Max disapproves of their relationship and demands Peter end the romance but ends up throttling him when they meet secretly in the cafe. Shortly after, Max is left comatose, following a hit-and-run. It is revealed that Lauren is responsible but Tanya confesses to the crime and is imprisoned, pleading guilty to attempted murder. This distresses Lauren who confesses to the police and is found guilty of GBH with intent, and is sentenced to two years under supervision.

In 2008, paedophile Tony King, stepfather to her best friend, Whitney Dean, starts grooming her to replace Whitney. When Tony's paedophilia is revealed, Lauren is shocked to learn about his intentions. Unnerved, Lauren dumps Peter, who tells his friends that he and Lauren had a sexual experience in the allotments. However, the couple plan a reunion and Lauren tells him she is ready to have sex, but Max bans them from seeing each other. Lauren leaves Walford when the extent of Max's debt is revealed by bailiffs who remove the family's possessions. She returns briefly at Christmas, and dumps Peter again before seeing him kiss Zsa Zsa Carter, causing a catfight between her, Zsa Zsa and Whitney. She attends Bradley's funeral after he falls from the roof of The Queen Victoria pub, while attempting to evade arrest by the police for the murder of Archie Mitchell. She celebrates her sixteenth birthday at a party in R&R nightclub, where her uncle Jack Branning is shot by Kylie. After attending Abi's birthday dinner, Lauren informs her father that she is going to spend the summer at a summer camp in the United States.

Lauren returns from America earlier than expected, after being expelled from school for smoking cannabis. She reveals that she has a new boyfriend, Edward Brooks, but they split up because of the distance. Lauren attends her cousin Billie Jackson's birthday party and as a present, she gives him alcohol and he is found dead of alcohol poisoning the next morning. Billie's mother, Carol attacks Lauren, blaming her for encouraging Billie to drink. Lauren suspects that Max killed Archie after he tells her that Bradley was not the culprit and she notes his violent tendencies when he confronts Jay Brown for making crude sexual remarks after she rejects his attempt to proposition her. Lauren confronts Max and he tells her that he is not the killer but knows who is; after seeing Max and Stacey together, Lauren realises that Stacey is the killer and tricks a confession out of her, which she records on her mobile phone. Lauren threatens to go the police, but agrees to keep quiet after discovering that Archie raped Stacey. However, on Christmas Day, Lauren hands Janine Butcher the recording and Stacey flees after Janine exposes her. Lauren develops a crush on Whitney's half-brother, Ryan Malloy, and they begin an affair. However, the relationship is threatened when Tanya finds out and the relationship ends when he flees after killing Rob Grayson, who had been sexually exploiting Whitney for financial gain.

Lauren discovers that Max and Tanya are having an affair, despite Tanya now being married to Greg Jessop, Lauren threatens to kill Max unless the affair ends, but it secretly continues. The affair is soon exposed, causing Max to leave Walford. Lauren is angered by Tanya's actions, but is devastated to learn that Tanya has been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Lauren promises to support her but struggles to cope with her mother's illness. She starts drinking excessively and almost ends Darren Miller and Jodie Gold's relationship by having sex with Darren in the car lot – hours before the wedding. She also casually dates Tyler Moon until realising Whitney is still in love with him. Max returns to Walford, and when Lauren learns that Tanya has stopped her treatment, begs him to stay and reveals her illness so he stays. Lauren's rebellion continues and she reunites with her old friend Lucy Beale at Pat Evans' funeral. After getting drunk at the funeral, she is berated by her parents and given a private consultation with a GP. Lauren withdraws from school, and is employed at the car lot. She resumes drinking and tries to conceal this from her parents. Her drinking is so heavy that, on a night out, Lucy tells her to go home but Lauren ignores her, insisting that she is fine. Lucy loses her and she is found passed out in the street. Lauren tells her parents her drink was spiked before stating she is mature enough to make decisions. She then decides to move out. On her 18th birthday, a drunken Lauren belatedly arrives at a family party, organised by Tanya. After being sick, Lauren admits to her parents that she is uncontrollable and promises not to drink any more. She moves back home after not being able to cope with the laziness of her housemates. Lauren and Lucy go out where a drunken Lauren shares a kiss with a stranger, Dan, who drags her into his car. After Lucy manages to drag her out, they argue and Lauren storms off. Lucy finds her unconscious and takes her to hospital but Lauren discharges herself. Lauren returns home to find Lucy has already told Max, Tanya and Ian everything. Angry, Lauren argues with her family and leaves, meeting Dan. After she rejects his advances, Lauren goes to Lucy's house and Lucy tells her that she does not want anything more to do with her.

Lauren meets her cousin, Joey Branning, and is attracted to him. Her friendship with Lucy begins to improve after Lucy's father Ian Beale disappears and Lauren helps find him. Joey and Lucy start dating but Lauren learns that Joey had cheated with Whitney, and urges her to tell Lucy. Lucy ends the relationship and the girls take revenge by handcuffing him to playground equipment. Lauren decides to free him so he does not lose his job, and he tells her she is jealous that she did not get a kiss, so she slaps him. Joey is working at R&R when he sees Lauren flirting with a group of men so he throws them out and takes Lauren home. Lauren drunkenly kisses Joey but he rejects her. The following day, Joey explains that he rejected her because she was drunk and they kiss again. Lauren realises she cannot be with her cousin, so resists. Eventually, sexual tension mounts between them and they start a secret relationship. Joey's father Derek Branning finds out when he sees Joey and Lauren passionately kissing in the car lot office. Derek threatens Lauren so she and Joey plan to leave Walford. As they drive away in Derek's car, a drunk Lauren loses control of the car and crashes into a shop. Derek helps rescue them from the burning building and makes Joey take the blame for the crash. At the hospital, Lauren tells Tanya about her relationship with Joey and Derek blackmails Joey to end it. Heartbroken and distraught, Lauren continues to drink and Tanya realises that Joey is still in love with Lauren. Lauren later drunkenly reveals her relationship with Joey to the rest of her family. Joey leaves Walford after Derek dies but returns and reunites with Lauren, where Lucy witnesses them kissing. When trying to justify her relationship, Lauren is shocked when Lucy calls her selfish and undeserving of Joey's love, so Lauren considers telling the police the truth about the car crash, but Joey convinces her not to. Lauren and Joey's relationship is publicly revealed, though people start to accept it. Lauren discovers that Tanya has lied about missing a hospital appointment, and as Tanya refuses to talk, Lauren starts drinking again. Lauren destroys her mother's wedding gown and cake before Tanya and Max remarry. She later bonds with Max's secret wife, Kirsty Branning, upsetting Tanya.

Lauren finds out that Kirsty is pregnant, unaware that Kirsty is lying. At a party, Lucy spikes Lauren's drink so she drunkenly reveals that Kirsty is pregnant. Lauren falls out with Joey, who breaks up with her over her behaviour. She applies for a job as a waitress with Whitney at Ian's new restaurant but Lucy gets Joey to be Lauren's test customer so Lauren will fail. Whitney gets the job but purposely withdraws so that Lauren gets the job instead. She tries to make Joey jealous by kissing Tyler, who is engaged to Whitney, but it fails and Whitney ends their friendship and Lucy offers the job to Whitney. Lauren's drinking gets worse, though she believes she is not alcohol and tricks her step-grandmother Dot Branning to give her money, which she uses to buy alcohol. Tanya is angry when she discovers this. Lauren then steals £20 from her grandmother's purse and when Tanya discovers this, she compares her to her aunt, Rainie Cross. Disgusted, Lauren attempts to buy more alcohol but Kirsty refuses to serve her, following Tanya's wishes. Lauren walks outside and confides in Joey but Lucy sees this and starts intimidating Lauren so she punches Lucy and smashes the café window. Lauren is arrested but Lucy decides not to press charges. Ian gives Lauren her waitress job back, but is sacked on the opening night for getting drunk and spills drink on a guest. Tanya and Max find bottles in Lauren's bedroom and decide to keep her locked in the house. She believes Lauren is showing no signs of withdrawal but Lauren reveals she has been drinking vodka from a water bottle, so Tanya realises she is addicted. Tanya keeps Lauren locked in her room but her withdrawal leads her to climb out of the window and Lauren says that nobody can stop her from drinking if she wants to. The next day, Tanya tells Lauren to leave after she destroys Abi's revision notes, and she stays with Max and Kirsty. Tanya asks Peter to spend time with Lauren, but their date is sabotaged by Lucy, so Lauren gets drunk again and leaves with a group of strangers. When she returns, her skin and eyes are yellow and she collapses in pain, so she is taken to hospital and diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis. She is warned that she could die if she doesn't stop drinking. Lauren returns and sees Joey so tries to find him. She confronts Lucy over her relationship with Joey, but Lucy refuses to answer, so Lauren concludes that they are together and tries to get a drink but is refused service. Tanya takes her home, where she admits that she cannot cope with her parents' constant arguing. Ultimately, Tanya blames herself and takes Lauren to a clinic in Exeter, believing a change of scene could help.

Lauren, now a recovering alcoholic, returns to Walford and dislikes how people treat her, until Abi reminds her of the hurt she caused. Lauren reconciles and is heartbroken to discover that Joey slept with Whitney while she was away. Lauren leaves, taking a drink with her but chooses not to drink it. She attends counselling and meets Jake Stone. She sees that he is married but learns that is separated. Lauren falls in love with him but finds out that he is still married to Sadie Young, they split up but resume their affair, Max catches them and orders Lauren to end the relationship. Later that day, Joey asks Lauren to leave Walford with him but she decides to stay and resumes her affair with Jake. They are caught by Bella Young when she walks in on Lauren getting dressed. Understanding how Bella feels, Lauren ends the affair. When Sadie learns of this, Lauren attempts to apologise to her but learns that Sadie and Bella have left. She tries to persuade Jake not to drink again but he angrily throws a bottle of wine at Lauren and injuring her face; however, she forgives him before he leaves Walford. Lauren is stunned to see Stacey in The Vic, Stacey tells Lauren she is not staying but they meet again at Dot's house. Cora decides to call the police, but Lauren stops her and makes amends with Stacey as they talk about Bradley. She overhears Max and Stacey talking about a recent kiss they had and is agitated, asking her to stay away from Max. She overlooks what she heard when Stacey reveals she is waiting for the police to arrest her for murdering Archie because she wants to clear Bradley's name. Lauren avoids Jake when he returns to Walford as he has fallen off the wagon and is staying on Ian Beale's sofa.

Lucy asks Lauren to go into business with her. Although initially reluctant, Lauren agrees and they set up "LB Lettings". Lauren becomes suspicious that Lucy is dating Jake when he sets up the website for their business and Lucy begins arranging secret meetings. Lucy soothes her anxieties but she is seeing Max. Soon after, Lucy is found dead and Lauren is devastated. She leans on Peter for support in her grief, and is tempted to drink again but Cora talks her out of it. Determined to overcome her grief, Lauren starts up the business again and finds an email from someone wanting to meet on the night Lucy died. Believing Lucy went instead of her, Lauren tells the police but is not taken seriously, so she arranges to meet them herself. She is shocked when the person is revealed to be Jake and he chases her through Walford to try and stop her from going to the police. However, she does and he is arrested, although Lauren clearly has doubts if he did kill Lucy.

When Peter falls out with his girlfriend, Lola Pearce, Lauren comforts him and they kiss. However, Peter feels bad for cheating on Lola and leaves, but it is clear Lauren has feelings for him. Jake is released when evidence clears him of any involvement and makes peace with Lauren before leaving. Lauren starts dating Dean Wicks after they have a one-night stand but is shocked when Peter breaks up with Lola and tells Lauren he loves her after kissing her again. Lauren tells him that she wants to be with Dean and Peter vows to wait for her. When Peter is about to visit New Zealand, Lauren ends her relationship with Dean and tells Peter she loves him. Lauren and Peter later begin to get paranoid when they are followed. When they get a car registration, DS Summerhayes finds that it is a police car signed out to DS Cameron Bryant but she tells everyone that the registration number belongs to a reporter. On Halloween night, she encounters a mysterious person in a Halloween mask who follows her throughout the evening. This is later revealed to be Abi.

Peter asks Lauren to marry him. Lauren accepts, but after finding out that Peter was selling drugs to Lucy, she tells him that she cannot marry him.On New Year's Day 2015, Max's girlfriend Emma Summerhayes is killed in a car accident after meeting someone who she thinks killed Lucy. Although Max tears up Emma's case notes, Lauren finds most of the pages and puts them together, suspicious about who killed Lucy. Lauren asks Peter to marry her and he accepts However, after finding a previously torn off piece of a page from Emma's case files and trying to use Emma's phone, Lauren starts to doubt if she should marry Peter and drinks most of a half-bottle of whisky in Max's office. When Lauren nearly faints, Stacey buys her a test and discovers that Lauren is pregnant. Stacey confronts her about it but Lauren reveals that she knows who killed Lucy, but refuses to divulge the identity to the police. When Stacey calls the police, she is upset at her inability to keep a secret but hands in most of Emma's case files, while keeping the torn-off piece. She writes a card addressed to Jane, saying that Lucy was killed at home, and abruptly leaves to book an abortion. However, during the consultation, Peter interrupts her and offers to support her through all her issues. Lauren says she is confused and that she knows what happened to Lucy, leading him to discover the truth about the murder at home. When Peter decides to emigrate to New Zealand, he asks Lauren to go with him. She initially refuses, planning to join Tanya in Devon but after he tells her that his brother Bobby Beale is Lucy's killer, she changes her mind and decides to go to New Zealand. They dispose of Emma's remaining evidence and SIM card, deciding not to tell the police about Bobby being Lucy's killer. She says goodbye to Max and Abi and leaves with Peter, taking an outfit for their unborn child with them.

A heavily pregnant Lauren returns for Max's murder trial, saying she knows who killed Lucy. As she threatens to tell everyone about Bobby, her waters break. She later gives birth to a baby boy who she names Louie, in honour of Peter's great-grandmother, Lou Beale. Lauren convinces Abi to stop Max from going to prison and tells Jane Beale that she is going to tell the truth but Max is found guilty, thanks to Phil bribing the jury foreman. Max is sentenced to 21 years imprisonment. Max discovers Lauren knew that he was innocent and disowns her. Lauren makes a statement to the Police claiming that Bobby killed Lucy but they do not believe her and she returns to New Zealand with Louie, vowing to come back and clear Max's name.

In May 2016, Bobby puts Jane in a coma and confesses to killing Lucy, so Ian's mother Kathy Sullivan telephones Lauren and tells Ian that she and Peter are returning. However, when Lauren arrives with Louie, Ian is surprised to see his stepson Steven Beale instead of Peter. Lauren tries to reconcile with an angry Abi, who is furious that Lauren did not tell her that Bobby killed Lucy. Lauren and Steven try to make Ian understand their relationship and why Peter has not returned. When Max is due to have a court hearing following Bobby's confession, Lauren and Abi write a letter saying they will wait for him in the pub, asking Stacey to deliver it. Stacey returns, saying she missed the hearing but passed the letter to his solicitor. Max is released but does not meet Lauren, so she goes home. The letter is returned and she runs outside to see Max leaving in a taxi. Lauren helps Abi get her job back in The Vic and decides to party with her friends. Lauren catches Abi and Lee and assumes that Abi is making a move on him, however Abi drunkenly reveals that she and Lee previously had sex. Lauren promises not to tell Whitney even though Steven tells her to. That same day, Lauren helps Whitney do a pregnancy test, which is positive. Lauren later warns Lee that she knows about his sex with Abi but says she will not say anything because it would mean ruining Whitney's happiness. When Whitney does eventually find out about Lee's unfaithfulness, Lauren supports her. She later starts a business as a web designer, with her first client being Belinda Peacock. Steven is annoyed when Lauren buys a new laptop, following a burglary at the Beales' restaurant. Steven tells Lauren he needed a way to pay debts and she promises not to tell Ian the truth about the burglary as long as they are honest with each other in future.

Lauren is excited when Louie says his first word: "mama". Steven gets him to say "dada" and records a video. Lauren sends it to Peter, which upsets Steven as he sees himself as Louie's father, but Lauren says Peter will always be Louie's father. When Jane discovers Steven has been stealing money from the restaurant, he explains he borrowed it to pay Peter's debts as he is drinking heavily and getting into fights, and Lauren does not know the whole truth. When Lauren learns this, she is angry that he was not honest and considers visiting Peter. Steven says he wanted to protect her and Louie, and going to New Zealand out of guilt or pity will be a mistake, so she decides not to go. Lauren starts to worry that her relationship with Steven has become stale but she does manage to seduce him until they are interrupted. While visiting Max at work, Lauren meets Josh Hemmings (Eddie Eyre) and they share an attraction. Lauren insists on meeting up with him to see what happens. Josh suggests that Lauren apply for a job at the company he works for, Weyland & Co, where Max also works. Lauren is shocked that Josh is one of the interviewers as she thought he worked on the photocopier, so she leaves but Josh follows; she slaps him for lying but they kiss. Meanwhile, Steven is eager for a baby with Lauren but she would rather concentrate on her career, so Steven starts piercing holes in his condoms. Lauren reaches the final two for the job and Max asks Josh not to employ Lauren, and he makes sure someone else gets the job, however, Josh visits Lauren at home and offers her a different job, and he meets Steven and realises Lauren is in a relationship and has a child. Thanks to Abi, Steven becomes paranoid about Lauren and Josh's relationship and starts tracking Lauren's whereabouts via a mobile app. Lauren finds out she is pregnant, and books an appointment to discuss an abortion, soon after revealing her intentions to Abi, as she is not ready to have a second child. Max tells a disbelieving Lauren that Josh is engaged, then Josh admits he is getting married in November. Lauren surprises and annoys Abi by arranging a secret Father's Day visit from Oscar for Max, neglecting to tell Abi about it. However, this drives Abi to reveal the abortion to Steven, though he decides not to confront Lauren. Lauren tells Josh that she loves Steven but admits that there are no "fireworks", and tells Josh that she will not cheat on him, unaware that Steven has been spying on her with a secret camera. Unaware that Abi and Steven have embarked on an affair, Lauren realises she does not love Steven and plans on returning to New Zealand to make amends with Peter. However, Steven learns about her plans and lies to her that he has an inoperable brain tumour. Lauren is wracked with guilt and decides to remain in Walford. In another desperate attempt to keep her, Steven spontaneously proposes to her in the Queen Vic, which she accepts. Lauren then resigns from Weyland & Co and starts planning her and Steven's wedding, however, after a fire which he started at Ian's restaurant, he dies. Lauren is devastated. Abi tries to tell her that she is pregnant with Steven's baby but Lauren misinterprets it as gloating about her own abortion, so Abi says that she wishes Lauren died instead and that she never deserved Steven's love, causing Lauren to start drinking again. On the day of Steven's funeral, Lauren finds out he lied about having a brain tumour and destroys his wreaths. When she finds out that Steven has been cremated, she refuses to scatter his ashes. Abi decides to leave Walford to visit Tanya and when Lauren learns of this, she asks if she and Louie can join her. Abi agrees and they leave Walford together; unbeknownst to Lauren, Abi is secretly taking Steven's ashes with her.

Lauren returns and moves back in with Ian and asks Josh for her job back. Josh accepts and flirts with Lauren but she rejects him again, but after numerous attempts, Lauren eventually gives into temptation and kisses Josh. When Josh's former fiancée, Imogen arrives unexpectedly at the office, she belittles Lauren and tells her that Josh dislikes children. To confirm this, Lauren asks Josh if he would like to spend time with her and Louie; he reluctantly accepts, but implies that they should go as a couple instead which displeases Lauren. Josh later tries to declare his love for he and asks why they cannot be together; she explains that they are different people and that she is a recovering alcoholic. Kathy advises Lauren to move on from Steven and pursue Josh, which she does and they start a relationship. Lauren discovers Weyland & Co's Project Dagmar, a plan to develop Albert Square into luxury apartments, and photographs a scale model. She threatens to publicise the project but her boss James Willmott-Brown (William Boyde), who is also Josh's father, convinces Lauren that the project has fallen through due to investors dropping out at the last minute and she deletes the photo. Josh confirms this, having only just heard about the project. However, it emerges that this was a lie and that Weyland & Co have bought several properties in Albert Square and are evicting business owners. Lauren refuses to give an eviction notice to Ian, so is fired. She discovers that Max is involved in the plan to con the residents. Willmott-Brown destroys Max's contract, revealing that he has also been manipulated, but Josh gives Lauren a copy as he is entitled to his share. Lauren asks Max for the truth or she will destroy the copy, but he destroys it himself, saying that he knew about Abi's affair with Steven and her pregnancy and that his plan was to exact revenge on those who abandoned him. Later, Josh tells Lauren that he can stop the development by revealing that Willmott-Brown bribes members of Walford Council. Josh asks Lauren to stall Willmott-Brown and Fi Browning at a press launch so he can get evidence of the bribes, so she chains herself to their property, but is arrested for breach of the peace. Lauren is cautioned and released, and then kisses Josh when he says he has left Weyland, though his plan has failed. Josh is offered a new job in Glasgow and Lauren agrees to move there with him. Ian disapproves of her relationship with Josh when he catches them kissing which causes Lauren to slap Ian, but Kathy convinces him that Josh is not like his father. On Christmas Day, Max gives Lauren a thoughtful Christmas present and she tells him that he needs medical help. Tanya returns to take Lauren and Abi away from Walford, revealing that Max killed Steven and tried to kill Jane. Lauren and Abi reject Max. Max goes to the roof of The Vic where he plans to kill himself by jumping off, but Lauren and Abi climb on to the ledge to try and stop him. As Max agrees to come down, Lauren slips and she and Abi both fall off. They are taken to hospital, where Lauren has surgery on her pelvis, which is fractured, and Abi has a CT scan and is declared brainstem dead. When Lauren starts physiotherapy, she becomes frustrated with not being told the truth about Abi and breaks down when she sees her. Lauren slaps Max for lying to her about Abi's condition and is devastated by Abi's death. Lauren is distraught when Abi's life support is withdrawn. Before Abi's funeral, Lauren lies to Max that it has already taken place because Tanya does not want him there, however, he realises it is a lie. On the day of the funeral, Lauren tells Whitney about her planned move to Scotland with Josh and Whitney asks her to be sure that she actually loves him or if she is only with him because he is good with Louie. After the service, she sees Max going into the chapel and tells him that she needs to leave, before hugging him and crying. Lauren then takes Louie from Josh and walks away without him. Cora later reveals that Lauren has moved to New Zealand, possibly reuniting with Peter.

Several months later, Ian agrees to babysit Louie while Lauren and Peter patch up their relationship. Shortly afterwards, Kathy calls Ian to tell Lauren and Peter that Bobby is being released from prison. However, Ian tells her that Lauren is refusing to forgive Bobby for ruining her relationship with her dad and causing Abi's death.

2017

In November 2017, Ben Mitchell finds a business card in Luke Wilmott-Brown (his boyfriend)'s wallet with the words "Project Dagmar" inked in. Ben knows that Dagmar is the bar in which Luke's dad, James, raped Ben's mother Kathy Beale in. After questioning him, Luke throws him up against a car and throttles him.

A few days later, Jay Brown lets slip to Lauren Branning that Luke throttled Ben. Lauren, who works at Weyland&Co (the company which Luke works at and James Wilmott-Brown owns) asks her boss Josh Hemmings (Luke's half-brother, however she doesn't know this) what Project Dagmar is. He says he doesn't know. Upon asking Luke, he is also throttled by him, and would have killed him if Sophie hadn't intervened.

All the while, Lauren is snooping round Luke's office trying to find evidence of Project Dagmar. She doesn't find anything on the tablet originally, however after searching "Kathy Beale" a host of files appear. She clicks on one and finds a keycode. She leaves the office, however later returns after realising she left her mug with her name on it. She notices the keypad on the meeting room door and looks at her slip of paper on which she wrote the keycode she found on the tablet. She tries it, and it opens. She looks at a plastic sign on a table which says "PROJECT DAGMAR - Scale 1:50." She removes the polystyrene cover over the table and it reveals a plan showing a greyed out Albert Square, with brilliant white tower blocks standing throughout.

During the fallout of the Willmott-Brown reveal, Luke asks if he can talk to Lauren in private. He asks her if she can serve the eviction notice to Kathy, and says he will fire her if she does not. She appears to accept, but she returns and throws the papers in his face. Luke gives Josh a contract termination letter to give to Lauren.

Josh later visits Lauren, and hands her the second copy of the contract which entitles Max to 15% of everything earned from the Weyland&Co development. Abi catches up with Lauren and asks her whats 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.

In December of the same year, Max tries to strangle Ian with Christmas lights as Lauren walks in.

On Christmas Day, Max goes round 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.

Later in the day, Tanya Cross returns and visits Ian. Tanya is shocked to discover that Abi is sharing Christmas dinner with Max. She accidentally lets slip that Lauren is planning to move to Glasgow, which Lauren backtracks on. Tanya tells Lauren that if she doesn't go to Glasgow she has to come back to Exeter with her. Tanya forces Lauren to pack a bag, to Ian and Kathy's dismay. Tanya then leaves to go and get Abi.

Abi goes to tell Lauren, Ian and Kathy that Max killed 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 Abi tried to grab her but fell off aswell. They fall to the ground, to Tanya, Max and Stacey's shock.

Lauren comes round in the hospital. The nurse says she has sustained a "complex fracture which is compressing a nerve in your leg" and explains that they need to operate today. Lauren nods and asks how Abi is. The nurse says she is in good hands. Lauren asks about Abi's baby.

At the end of the episode, Lauren is seen being operated on.

The next episode, Ian Beale takes Lauren's Son Louie Beale To see her after her operation Went successfully,

Abi branning is brain stem dead and has given birth to a baby girl weeks earlier and Abi may not survive but max can’t accept the fact that she might not make it

After Abi’s funeral, Lauren is supposed to leave Walford with Josh Hemmings but she decides to ditch him at the last minute and leaves with Louis.

Character development

2018 departure

On the 10th September 2017, it was revealed the new executive consultant John Yorke had axed Jacqueline Jossa and Lorna Fitzgerald, who play Lauren and Abi Branning respectively. The full details of how Lauren will go are still under wraps, however it has been confirmed that after the sister's dramatic fall from the Queen Victoria roof on Christmas Day that at least one of them will be killed off. A BBC spokesperson said of their departures: "We can confirm that Jacqueline and Lorna will be leaving EastEnders. They have both been wonderful to work with and we wish them all the best for the future.".

Quotes

  • Don't give em to her, she ain't gettin' the biggest room (first line to Max Branning)
  • It's Abi's birthday, what is wrong with you? (final line spoken by Madeline Duggan to Max Branning)
  • Wow, you've changed. (first line spoken by Jacqueline Jossa to Max Branning)
  • Dad, I need to leave. (final line to Max Branning)

Lauren Branning's Character Trailer 

Lauren Branning Eastenders BBC One

Lauren Branning Eastenders BBC One

Lauren Branning character trail

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Characters
Ian Beale | Sharon Mitchell | Kathy Beale | Dot Branning | Martin Fowler | Phil Mitchell | Sonia Fowler | Robbie Jackson | Mel Owen | Ben Mitchell | Billy Mitchell | Kat Moon | Mo Harris | Bex Fowler | Patrick Trueman | Louise Mitchell | Bobby Beale | Stacey Fowler | Jean Slater | Ruby Allen | Honey Mitchell | Denise Fox | Max Branning | Janet Mitchell | Shirley Carter | Jay Brown | Rainie Branning | Jack Branning | Dotty Cotton | Will Mitchell | Whitney Dean | Tiffany Butcher | Amy Mitchell | Dotty Cotton | Kim Fox-Hubbard | Lily Fowler | Ricky Mitchell | Tommy Moon | Dennis Rickman | Tina Carter | Linda Carter | Mick Carter | Bert Moon | Ernie Moon | Kush Kazemi | Pearl Fox-Hubbard | Ollie Carter | Arthur Fowler | Keegan Baker | Ted Murray | Karen Taylor | Keanu Taylor | Bernadette Taylor | Chatham Taylor | Riley Taylor | Hope Fowler | Abi Branning | Arshad Ahmed | Mariam Ahmed | Callum "Halfway" Highway | Hayley Slater | Mitch Baker | Stuart Highway | Adam Bateman | Cherry Slater | Evie Steele | Mica Fox-Hubbard | Bailey Baker | Habiba Ahmed | Iqra Ahmed | Ash Kaur
Past
Characters (Selected)
Saeed Jeffery | Debbie Wilkins | Tony Carpenter | Kelvin Carpenter | Naima Jeffery | Sue Osman | Mehmet Osman | Ali Osman | Vicki Fowler | Paul Trueman | Zoe Slater | Chrissie Watts | David Wicks | Simon Wicks | Ricky Butcher | Diane Butcher | Andrew Cotton | Peter Beale | Liam Butcher | Dean Wicks | Babe Smith | Courtney Mitchell | Grant Mitchell | James Willmott-Brown | Johnny Carter | Tanya Cross | Lauren Branning | Michelle Fowler | Alfie Moon | Annie Smith | Lofty Holloway | Mary Smith
Deceased
Characters (Selected)
Lou Beale | Andy O'Brien | Pete Beale | Arthur Fowler | Cindy Beale | Steve Owen | Tiffany Mitchell | Ethel Skinner | Angie Watts | Roy Evans | Mark Fowler | Barry Evans | Den Watts | Dennis Rickman | Johnny Allen | Pauline Fowler | Frank Butcher | Archie Mitchell | Nana Moon | Bradley Branning | Pat Evans | Heather Trott | Derek Branning | Lucy Beale | Nick Cotton | Jim Branning | Charlie Slater | Peggy Mitchell | Arthur Chubb (Fatboy) | Ronnie Mitchell | Roxy Mitchell | Steven Beale | Abi Branning | Harold Legg | Hunter Owen
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