EastEnders will see the return of many past characters for Dot Branning's funeral, including her step-granddaughter Lauren Branning.


First introduced by Madeline Duggan in 2006, the character was then played by Jacqueline Jossa between 2010 and 2018. Jossa will make an appearance at Dot's memorial service, incorporated in the script following the sad death of soap star June Brown earlier this year.

Like many others on the BBC soap, Lauren has had quite the turbulent past. Let's have a look at her years in Albert Square.

Who is Lauren Branning in EastEnders?

Lauren Branning hugs Sonia Fowler in a scene of EastEnders.
Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) is back in the Square to honour her grandma Dot. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

The eldest child of Tanya (Jo Joyner) and Max Branning (Jake Wood), Lauren has a younger sister, Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald). They are related to Dot via their grandfather Jim Branning (John Bardon), Dot's second husband, who left the soap in 2011.

Lauren's teenage years have been nothing short of dramatic, starting off with her discovering her father's affair with Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner). The girl later exposes the affair, breaking up her parents' marriage and going as far as running over her father in a hit-and-run when he opposes her relationship with Peter Beale (played by Thomas Law, Ben Hardy and Dayle Hudson in turn).

Throughout the years, Lauren has been in a number of toxic relationships and love affairs. In between her on-again, off-again romance with Peter, she has a fling with American student Edward Brooks met at a summer camp in the US, her friend Whitney Dean's (Shona McGarty) half-brother Ryan Malloy (Neil McDermott) and even her own cousin Joey Branning (David Witts).

Her conflictual relationship with her parents continued, with Lauren becoming addicted to alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with her mother Tanya's cancer diagnosis. After moving out on her 18th birthday, she then returns home and admits she needs help only to relapse again and jeopardise her parents' attempts to reconcile.

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Lauren finally decides to go to rehab when she is diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis and is told she could die.

When did Lauren first leave EastEnders?

Sonia Fowler, Lauren Branning and others attend Dot's memorial service.
Lauren Branning reunites with Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) and Whitney Dean (Shona McCarty) to attend Dot's memorial service. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Once she returns to Walford, she and her friend Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater) set up their own business as Lauren attends AA meetings and falls for married man Jake Stone (Jamie Lomas). Meanwhile, Lucy is secretly seeing Lauren's father.

When Lucy is found dead, Lauren is devastated when she suspects Jake may be behind it. She sees an email in which an anonymous sender wanted to meet on the night of her friend's murder and arranges another meeting only to find Jake there. He gets arrested, but is later released and cleared of all charges.

Meanwhile, Lauren rekindles her relationship with Peter. The two decide to marry and a pregnant Lauren agree to move to New Zealand, not before having discovered the identity of Lucy's killer. It was Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) who murdered her friend, but Lauren stays silent, letting her father Max take the blame.

Lauren tries to correct her mistake by speaking with the police after Max is sentenced, but they don't believe her. Returning from New Zealand with Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell) instead of Peter, Lauren is pleased to realise Bobby has confessed to killing Lucy and her father is a free man.

What are Lauren's new scenes about?

Kellie Bright as Linda Carter and Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning talk at the Queen Victoria.
What will Linda (Kellie Bright) tell Lauren about her father? BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

As Max later becomes involved in a dodgy development project to turn the Square into a luxury apartment block complex, he kills Steven — who had an affair with Lauren's sister Abi, leaving her pregnant — when the latter refuses to go along with his plans.

Once the sisters confront their father about his unhinged actions, he admits he is seeking revenge. The situation results in a dramatic showdown when a desperate Max goes up the roof of the Queen Victoria to jump off. Abi and Lauren try to stop him but they both fall to the ground when Lauren slips.

Lauren recovers but Abi is declared brain dead at the hospital after giving birth to Steven's baby girl. Max and Tanya's eldest daughter leaves the Square with her boyfriend Josh after her sister's funeral, going back to New Zealand where she is hinted at reuniting with Peter.

In the new scenes, Lauren will pay tribute to Dot, not missing the chance to stir things up once again.

At the Queen Victoria, she confronts Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) for breaking her father's heart after their affair. Linda is the reason why Max left the Square for Croatia in 2020, but Lauren doesn't know Linda's daughter Annie is actually her half-sister.

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