EastEnders: Max and Stacey set for dramatic Christmas showdown

Will Stacey hear Jane's incriminating voicemail when she gets her phone back?

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Max Branning’s downfall is at the centre of the drama in EastEnders this Christmas as the full extent of his evil actions unfolds.

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Now public enemy number one after his involvement in Willmott-Brown’s wicked Weyland scheme to destroy the Square was exposed, Max’s daughters Lauren and Abi have turned their back on their father and tell him on Christmas Eve they’re wash their hands of him.

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Alone and abandoned by his kids, Max’s only ally is old flame Stacey Fowler, who takes in her former father-in-law when he has nowhere else to go – which goes down like the proverbial lead balloon with her husband Martin.

Meanwhile, Stacey’s missing mobile phone is finally returned when Karen Taylor discovers her sons Chatham and Riley’s stash of stolen handsets. Mortified her twins have been thieving from the neighbours, Karen manages to get Stace’s phone back to her, but is oblivious to the significance of her gesture…

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Stacey’s phone, you may recall, contains a panicked voicemail from Jane Beale sent when she fled Walford fearing for her life after discovering Max was in bed with Weyland and had left her to die in a burning building, warning Stacey Mr Branning was not to be trusted. The phone was stolen before anyone had a chance to hear it – but with Stacey charging up her returned phone the incriminating message is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode over the festive season…

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Max’s presence causes more problems for the Fowlers when Stacey is lured away from the nativity on Christmas Eve by manipulative Max when he asks her to return home to fetch his wallet he claims he left behind. Martin is not impressed, and when Stacey finds Max back at the house she is furious to realise he has lied to get her alone.

Suspicious of Max’s motives, Stacey orders him to leave but ungrateful Max goads her that she’s lost her old Slater spark. Sparks fly as a furious showdown ensues and Stacey ends up slapping him round the face.

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As Christmas Day arrives the atmosphere seems calmer, Max is spending it with the Fowlers and there appears to be a ceasefire as Abi is sitting next to her dad at the dinner table while everyone tucks into their turkey.

But any hope of a reconciliation between Max and his family is set to be ruined as a sequence of dramatic events leads to his ultimate downfall. With Jane’s voicemail just waiting to be heard, Max’s life is about to collapse on an apocalyptic scale that will destroy the Branning family forever…

You can watch a 60-second rundown of all next week’s drama on EastEnders below. Beneath that, there’s our exclusive Week in Walford review show

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