EastEnders has given fans their first look at new episodes airing this autumn, and there are testing times ahead for the Branning and Beale clans.
Two explosive scenes shown in the latest edition of EastEnders: Secrets From the Square previewed the action ahead when the soap returns in September. In the first, Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) clashes with schoolteacher Isaac Baptiste (Stevie Basaula) over the behaviour of Jack's daughter Amy.
Maslen, discussing what's in store for his character with host Stacey Dooley, hinted Amy will prove to be a chip off the old block and starts to display traits of her feisty late mum Roxy Mitchell as she gets older.
The showdown sees Jack defend his daughter and angrily insist to Isaac she is not a liar, to which the teacher calmly responds: "We'll see…" What has naughty Amy been accused of?
Meanwhile, Jack's big brother Max Branning (Jake Wood) will regret his decision to temporarily sign his share of Walford East restaurant over to business Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) to hide his financial assets from Rainie Branning, so she doesn't get her hands on his cash during their divorce.
The second preview clip shows a terrified Ian backing away (and not just due to social distancing) as Max lashes out, ranting: "You're unbelievable, Ian - that's my money, that's every penny - everything I own!" Sounds very much like the informal arrangement has gone awry - has Max discovered Ian probably used the money now in his name to buy the Queen Vic with Sharon Watts? That will surely leave Max with unexpected money troubles.
Could Ian even confide in his frenemy he only purchased the pub to assuage his guilt over causing Sharon's son Denny's death?
Maslen also confirmed Jack's relationship with Denise Fox will have developed by the autumn as the couple chose to spend lockdown together, despite their romance being in the early stages. Could wedding bells even be on the cards when they emerge from isolation? Or will Max living with them all those months have put a dampener on their ardour?
EastEnders was forced into a production hiatus shortly before lockdown in March, and resumed filming at the end of June. The last completed episode was shown on 16th June after which the soap went on an extended transmission break.
It is expected to be back on our screens on 7th September, although the BBC has not confirmed the specific date, despite it being visible on a script in a social media post from cast member Dayle Hudson (Peter Beale).
Secrets From the Square airs on Mondays and classic episodes from the archive air on Tuesdays in the EastEnders slots. Episodes will be temporarily be 20 minutes long, 10 minutes shorter than usual, when the programme returns.