The battle for baby Abi Branning takes centre stage in EastEnders next week when Rainie’s sham marriage to Max is threatened firstly by the arrival of her mum Cora Cross, who tries to convince her daughter to betray her ‘husband’, then by Rainie being tempted back to drugs.
As her relationship with Max grows increasingly complicated and her past demons return to haunt her, will Rainie renege on the arrangement to be paid to pose as Mrs Branning until the baby girl’s granddad is granted full custody? Tanya Franks, who plays Max’s mischievous missus, reveals what’s ahead for the toxic twosome and how little Abi’s future will be decided.
What is your take on Rainie’s allegiance with Max and trying to get baby Abi back? It is a business arrangement they’ve both bought into. Historically Rainie and Max hate each other, however sometimes there are more similarities between two people than you realise. And they’re both disliked among the community so they both only really have each other – and that can throw up a mixture of feelings and confusions.
Does Rainie care about the bad things Max has done in the past? You can’t change a person’s history. They are just focusing on getting Abi back, Rainie doesn’t think much about the bigger picture, she’s just throwing herself into this and will deal with the ramifications afterwards.
What pushes her into meeting with a drug dealer and almost relapsing? Being in this environment which is family orientated makes her look at what she hasn’t necessarily achieved in her life. There is also a falling out with Donna, who really hits home with Rainie’s insecurities, so that hits a really raw nerve which is where we see her have weaker moments – as well her stronger moments, too.
Phil intervenes and stops her, is she grateful? And what is their relationship like now, given their history? Phil is the one person that does and says the right thing for Rainie. If there is anyone that she can look into a mirror and face herself with it’s him. If he hadn’t have come along at that moment, Rainie might have gone down that road again – Phil certainly helps to keep her out of it, that’s for sure.
How does Rainie feel to see her mum Cora on the doorstep with Abi? Shocked, and also put on the spot as Rainie hasn’t told anybody she is now living with Max. The fact Cora has the baby with her is enormous and allows Rainie and Max to explore what it would be like to look after Abi properly.
Does Rainie starting to have strong maternal feelings? Yes, she wants to experience what it means to be a mum. It’s an opportunity for her that she never in a million years saw for herself, she didn’t ever feel that she would be in a situation where she’d be married and bringing up a child so it makes her question so much about herself as a potential mother.
Cora tries to tempt Rainie to sell out and betray Max, should we be questioning Rainie’s motives? Absolutely. Rainie works on a very spontaneous level, you could make her an offer she couldn’t refuse and there is a good chance that she wouldn’t refuse it! However, with a baby is involved it makes her question where she feels her loyalties lay and what could be the best scenario for her in terms of being a part of this baby’s life…
Is bringing up baby Abi the salvation Rainie has been searching for? Maybe, yes. If Cora was to give her an opportunity of a scenario where she really could be a mother then she might go that way, but if she can be more of a mother to Abi with Max, then maybe that is the way she will go. Right now that is the exploration for Rainie…
Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.