This article includes discussion of brain tumours and terminal illness that some readers may find upsetting.


Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) returned to Walford after his last-minute disappearing act in tonight's EastEnders (1st June), just as Lola Pearce-Brown's (Danielle Harold) body was being carried out of her home after her devastating death.

After living with a terminal brain tumour for the past few months, Lola passed away after husband Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) and daughter Lexi (Isabella Brown) said their emotional goodbyes in touching scenes.

But Lexi's dad Ben had been on a flight back from America at the time, amid a desperate mission to find a new treatment for Lola.

As the BBC soap returned, Ben drove into the Square and immediately realised that he was too late, and he fell to the ground as he sobbed over being absent at such a crucial time.

His husband Callum Highway (Tony Clay) and mum Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) supported him, and as the family stood in Lola's bedroom, Jay explained that she had gone peacefully, with Lexi holding her hand.

Isabella Brown as Lexi Pearce and Jamie Borthwick as Jay Brown hold Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce-Brown between them in EastEnders as they're bathed in sunlight.
Lexi Pearce and Jay Brown hold Lola. BBC

But Jay was angry that Ben hadn't yet asked about Lexi, who was at Kathy's and being looked after by Rocky Cotton (Brian Conley).

Ben headed over to see her to explain why he had left in the first place, and to apologise for not being with her when she most needed him. Lexi walked out, snapping that even she knew that there was no chance of helping Lola battle on for longer.

Meanwhile, the locals were also in mourning as news spread that Lola had died - showing just how beloved she was.

A helpless Ben returned to see Jay, hoping that Lexi would be with him - but she was missing. Ben was still trying to justify his flit to America, but Jay shouted him down.

Later, when Ben heard that Bernie Taylor (Clair Norris) had seen Lexi at the café, he fumed that she hadn't said anything.

Newcomer George Knight (Colin Salmon) stepped in to diffuse the tension, and when he heard about the family's loss, he told Ben that he had faced a similar difficulty with his eldest daughter who also had a tendency to run away as a youngster.

Lexi arrived at the café, and George gently approached her to remind her how much her father loved her. Ben reaffirmed how much he loved her and promised never to let her down again, before picking Lexi up for a much-needed hug.

Ben quietly thanked George for his intervention, but can he help his little girl through such unimaginable grief?

For information, help and support on matters associated with this storyline, head to Macmillan Cancer Support or Brain Tumour Research.

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