EastEnders’ Jacqueline Jossa manhandled by police as she films Lauren return

EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa is back with a bang after a five-year break.

And as our exclusive snaps show, it’s not going to be plain sailing from the get go. Jacqueline, 31, is back in Walford as Lauren Branning, along with on-screen cousin Penny (Kitty Casteldine).

No sooner does she steps back on British soil, than she’s arrested after a sniffer dog finds a suspicious substance in her bag. Pictures show Jacqueline, as Lauren, being stopped by a uniformed officer.

READ MORE: BBC EastEnders recasts Branning family character ahead of return – and fans are not happy

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The actress can be seen in a casual outfit, while she also carries a large blue bag, which is what has caused her to be stopped and searched. However there's clearly something wrong.

Another photo sees Jacqueline raging with the the officer arresting her as he yanks her arms behind her back. It's not yet clear what will happen to Lauren, or what exactly caused her arrest, but fans are in for a treat.

Speaking of Jacqueline's return, an insider said: “Her old cast mates can’t wait to film with her as she’s such a pro with a great sense of humour.” It was confirmed this week that Jacqueline would be bringing back another past character.

Penny Branning will be back with Lauren. Penny, the daughter of Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), hasn't been on EastEnders for 15 years.

Originally played by Mia McKenna-Bruce, Penny will now be played by Kitty Castledine. Luckily, with 15 years between appearances, fans can't complain too much that the character has a whole new face.

Penny was left paralysed after she was mown down by one of dad Jack's criminal associates. She then moved to France to live with mum Selina.

Speaking of joining the show, Kitty said: “I didn’t expect to start my EastEnders journey so soon out of drama school – I can’t actually believe it! My whole family are EastEnders fans, and I remember sitting on my Nanny Kay’s lap to tune in, and now they get to watch me in Albert Square.

“The inclusion of disabled talent on screen is so important to me as a wheelchair user, so I’m thrilled to be playing a character as feisty and cool as Penny. She’s thrown into the middle of the drama straight away, and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to.”

‌EastEnders Executive Producer Chris Clenshaw said: “It’s been a long time since Penny Branning was in Walford, and she’s a very different person from the one our viewers might remember. Kitty is a terrific addition to the show, and we’re looking forward to seeing Penny back in Albert Square.”

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