BBC EastEnders first-look pictures see explosive Walford return

Lauren Branning’s heartbreak as she realises Max lied to her

Jacqueline Jossa is set for an exciting return to EastEnders as first-look pictures see her in handcuffs.

Earlier this autumn, the BBC mainstay announced that the mum-of-two would be reprising her role as Lauren Branning and was set to make an “explosive comeback to Walford”.

In new images obtained by The Mirror, it seems as if the 31-year-old’s storyline is living up to its hype.

A first look at Lauren sees her returning to the country alongside Jack Branning’s daughter, Penny (played by Kitty Castledine), who is also making a comeback to the show after 15 years abroad.

Penny can be seen looking surprised as her cousin is subjected to a bag search by airport police.

Read more EastEnders’ Phil Mitchell panics over secret after Alfie Moon return

After a sniffer dog seemingly smells something suspicious, she’s put in handcuffs and is later seen attempting to explain her situation to the officers.

So, it seems as if Lauren won’t be going quietly, and that her return to Walford is going exactly as fans thought it would.

Jacqueline previously departed from the soap in February 2018 when her character’s sister, Abi Branning (Lorna Fitzgerald), tragically died as the pair fell off the roof of The Queen Vic.

Since leaving for a life in New Zealand, Lauren made a brief appearance in the square last December when she attended her step-grandmother Dot Cotton’s (June Brown) funeral.

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However, the return was short-lived as she departed again in the following episode.

On being back in the soap opera permanently, Jacqueline said: “I’m really excited! It’s such an amazing time to be back as there is so much buzz around EastEnders at the moment, and I’ve been watching and loving it like a fan.

“Walford holds such a special place in my heart, so it really does feel like coming home.”

Following the news of the role reprisal, fans have come out in their droves to welcome the I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! winner back to the small screen.

One Instagram fan wrote: “You don’t understand how much this return means to us, unbelievably excited!!”

A second commented: “Yes yes YESSSS & can she bring back Max [Branning] and Tanya [Cross] too?”

“Loved Jacqueline in Eastenders! Looking forward to this!!!,” replied another.

Tune into EastEnders from Monday to Thursday on ITV.

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