EastEnders: happy 21st birthday Abi Branning – you maniac!

As she reaches a milestone age, we look back on her crazy life from cute kid to conniving bad girl


Abi Branning turns 21 in tonight’s EastEnders and celebrates with a party that promises to descend into total and utter disaster. The bitchy blonde has meddled in big sister Lauren’s love life, telling her boyfriend Steven Beale she secretly aborted their baby, and flirting with her boss Josh Hemmings knowing her sibling is sweet on him.


So as the banners go up in Beale’s restaurant and 21 candles are counted out for the cake, it’s time to go all ‘This Is Your Life’ as we reflect on the milestones of Abigail Branning – despite turning into the Square’s most troublesome resident, she’s still that sweet, innocent young girl deep down. Isn’t she?  


She was such a cute kid (and drove a woman to suicide)

Abi was just 10 when she moved to Walford with her family, and immediately struck up a friendship with young Ben Mitchell. Kind, caring and a little bit geeky, she helped Ben through his bullying at the hands of sinister potential stepmum Stella Crawford, standing up to the loopy lawyer and helping Ben expose her abuse. Stella threw herself off a roof thanks to Abi’s encouragement for Ben to speak up, but her heart was in the right place.


She has an affinity with animals (but killed her dog)

Abs always loved furry creatures and wanted to be a vet from an early age. Remember her pet guinea pig, Marge? Awww. There was an unfortunate incident with another family pet, Tramp the dog, however – and by ‘unfortunate’ we mean ‘murderous’, but it was a total accident. Devastated at being dumped by ex-boyfriend Jay Brown, angry Abi got behind the wheel and planned to drive out of Walford forever – and reversed over poor old Tramp. Her reaction to the tragedy with the chilling remark: “Things die” is one of Ms Branning’s most memorable moments – but sadly not for the right reasons. She was probably in shock. 

She loves her big sister (who she stalked and assaulted)

Despite their differences, her and Lauren have always been close. Well, perhaps that’s stretching it, but there were moments where they had each others’ backs especially during the breakdown of their parents’ toxic marriage. We still like to believe that deep down the Branning sisters have a real bond, but it’s become buried beneath resentment and jealousy on Abi’s part towards her elder sibling who’s taken all the attention over the years with her endless dramas. We’ll just brush over the time Abi chased Lauren around the Square on Halloween dressed as a weeping angel, then got a bit carried away with the apple bobbing and almost drowned her in the bowl. We’re sure she had a very good reason… 

She was a real daddy’s girl (but beat up his mistress and framed him for her murder)

Abi was once the apple of Max’s eye, but as she grew up she had to face facts: her father was a devious womaniser who ruins lives. Discovering daddy’s dalliance with doomed Lucy Beale, Abi confronted the bolshy blonde and proudly announced she’d “battered her” during a showdown – on the night Lucy was murdered. Initially suspected of the crime herself, Abi then framed her father by feeding the police a pack of lies. But all is forgiven now since Max got out of jail, so it’s all okay.


It was true love with her and Ben (though she faked a pregnancy to stop him leaving her for a bloke)

Childhood friendship blossomed into grown-up true love for Abi and Ben. At least it would’ve had Ben not actually been gay. Convinced they were destined to be together, Abi faked a pregnancy to keep Ben by her side and away from the temptation of pretty boy Paul Coker – but it was all evil Aunt Babe’s idea, not Abi’s, so arguably she was the innocent party here. Yes her actions were misguided but her judgement was clouded by her love for Ben.


She’s a loyal colleague (but slept with her workmate’s boyfriend behind her back and spread an STD around Walford)

Phase two of Babe’s bonkers plan for Abi to pretend she was preggers involved her swiftly getting up the duff by someone else – so she had a drunken bunk-up with Lee Carter, then engaged to Abi’s Queen Vic colleague Whitney. This would totally have worked had Abi actually managed to get pregnant (which she didn’t), and also had Ben not given Abi chlamydia from a one-night stand with another man, which she then passed on to Lee who gave it to Whitney, who wondered how on earth she had contracted an STD while in a loving, monogamous relationship. Again – blame Aunt Babe, not angelic Abs…

Have a lovely party, Abi – we’re sure it’s going to be an unforgettable night!

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