EastEnders spoilers: is Lauren Branning no longer a murder suspect?

A new image released by the BBC1 soap appears to discount Max's daughter as the culprit

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On New Year’s Day, EastEnders put 14 of its regular characters in the frame for Lucy Beale’s murder…but now it seems that the suspect field has narrowed (ever so slightly).

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A new image released by the BBC1 soap focuses in on the long-running whodunnit but – as can be seen above – Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) is no longer part of the line-up of potential killers.

Actress Jacqueline Jossa is currently pregnant with her first child and is set to take maternity leave, but Lauren does remain a key part of the show’s current plotlines.

Next week’s episodes will see Lauren turning detective as she pieces together the file of notes gathered by the late Emma Summerhayes.

With dad Max still behaving erratically, Lauren decides to hide the case file but doesn’t notice when a slip of paper falls out.

Later on, Lauren discovers the scrap stuck to her shoe, but as she goes to throw it away, she realises it’s a missing piece of paper from Summerhayes’s notes. Lauren is shocked to the core when she realises what the paper means. Has she discovered who killed Lucy?

EastEnders will finally answer the question of who killed Lucy in a special live episode set to air on 19 February 2015, the date of the soap’s 30th anniversary.

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You can watch a 60-second rundown of the drama on next week’s episodes of EastEnders below: