Actress Jacqueline Jossa made a surprise return as Lauren Branning in EastEnders tonight.


Thursday's episode (22nd June 2023) saw the BBC One soap follow-up the dramatic reveal that Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) is alive and also the true identity of George Knight's (Colin Salmon) wife, the missing Rose Knight.

The new instalment revealed that Cindy was living in France with her first husband Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and their eldest son, Peter Beale (once again played by Thomas Law) and his son Louie Beale (Freddie Harrington).

However, an additional surprise occurred when Louie's mother Lauren Branning turned up in a taxi to collect him.

Jossa was last seen in the role back in December 2022 when she appeared in a guest role for the funeral of her step-grandmother Dot Branning.

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During the episode, Lauren revealed that she has been living with her mother Tanya Cross (Jo Joyner), who has been "driving her mad".

It remained clear that Lauren and Peter still have a spark with each other, but after Peter previously turned to drink and abandoned Lauren in New Zealand, there is a lot of water under the bridge.

Mentioning Peter's various recent affairs and previous troublesome behaviour, Lauren clearly had doubts.

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Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning in EastEnders.
EMB 20.05 22.06.2023 Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning in EastEnders.

However, more doubts emerged when Lauren was shocked to learn that Peter's 'deceased' mother Cindy Beale was alive and well.

After Lauren chastised Cindy for being absent after Peter's sister Lucy Beale was murdered in 2014, she turned on Peter for keeping this huge secret.

Fearing there were too many lies with the Beale family, Lauren departed France with Louie in tow, to the sadness of Peter.

However, will we see Lauren in Albert Square again?

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EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and from 6am on BBC iPlayer. Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.

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