EastEnders: Steven Beale makes a surprise return – with Lauren Branning!

Actors Aaron Sidwell and Jacqueline Jossa turned up in the final seconds of tonight's episode

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Honestly, it never rains but it pours for Ian Beale! Just when he gets to grips with one psychopathic family member, along comes another…

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Yes, Steven Beale has returned to EastEnders in tonight’s cliffhanger – with Lauren Branning in tow.

Steven – played by Aaron Sidwell – hasn’t been seen since 2008 when he left Walford, vowing that he’d kill Ian if he ever returned to Albert Square.

He was, of course, also responsible for once shooting Jane (who’s currently on the critical list after being attacked by Bobby) and attempting to smother Pat Butcher.

In 2014, half brother Peter revealed that Steven was living with his father Simon in New Zealand, which is where Peter and Lauren have also been residing since they left in February 2015.

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But now, Lauren (along with baby Louie) has made a comeback, turning up in a taxi with Steven in scenes just broadcast on BBC1.

But why has she arrived home without Peter? Apart from the obvious reason about actor Ben Hardy currently being one of the X-Men…

And is there something going on between Lauren and Steven, despite him coming out as gay during his last stint in the Square?

Speaking about Steven’s return, Aaron Sidwell said tonight: “He is genuine in wanting to help Ian. Although Steven wasn’t there through Lucy’s death the Beales are very much his family.

“He took Lucy’s death really hard and also took a certain amount of responsibility because what he did to Jane originally set a chain of events in motion – in the sense that he hurt Jane and took away her chance to be a mother, which drew Jane closer to Bobby.

“It has really resonated to him that there’s a certain amount of blame that lies at his own door. He doesn’t want to see Jane suffer any more and he feels partly responsible for her being where she is. He wants to help her get better and he wants to help Ian cope with it all.

“He’s always seen Ian as his dad and he wants to help him. He thinks that by being there and doing what he can he can slowly build up trust again. He is a young man who is trying to right the wrongs of his past.”

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.

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And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.