Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) is back in Walford, and she's joined by cousin Penny Branning (now played by Kitty Castledine). But what brings Jack's (Scott Maslen) daughter back?


Meanwhile, George Knight (Colin Salmon) is reunited with his parents, Eddie (Christopher Fairbank) and Gloria Knight (Elizabeth Counsell). But what are they hiding?

Elsewhere, Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) is upset over a huge decision, and Denzel Danes (Jaden Ladega) misconstrues a situation!

Read on for all your EastEnders spoilers for New Year, as 2024 dawns in Albert Square.

4 EastEnders spoilers for New Year – 1st - 4th January 2024

1. Lauren returns – with Penny Branning

Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning on her phone in EastEnders.
Jacqueline Jossa as Lauren Branning in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

In Paris, Lauren and Penny make a decision that they have to return to Walford due to the events of the evening. But what has sparked this decision?

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Penny arrives the following day, and she struggles to cope in the wake of recent events as she must make a tough choice. But what is troubling Penny, and why is there so little detail on what Lauren is up to?

2. George learns a shocking truth about his past

Christopher Fairbank as Eddie Knight, Colin Salmon as George Knight, and Elizabeth Counsell as Gloria Knight in EastEnders.
Christopher Fairbank as Eddie Knight, Colin Salmon as George Knight and Elizabeth Counsell as Gloria Knight in EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Elaine Peacock (Harriet Thorpe) struggles as Cindy Beale (Michelle Collins) tries to insert herself into George's life, and is shocked when she catches Cindy asking him if he's happy with his life choices.

But as George tries to explain himself to Elaine, he receives two unexpected visitors: his parents, Gloria and Eddie. Elaine is concerned by George's reaction to his mum and dad's arrival, but he refuses to open up.

At the Beale house, Cindy tells Ian (Adam Woodyatt) that George was adopted. Gloria is thrilled to be reunited with granddaughters Gina (Francesca Henry) and Anna Knight (Molly Rainford), but things are tense between Eddie and his eldest granddaughter.

Gloria later reveals a shocking truth to George, and he wakes on the sofa the next day, before lying to Elaine so he can sneak off and meet Cindy. At the café, George reveals all to Cindy about his adoption, and the pair are shocked when they find more information.

Elaine consoles a broken George, who finally reveals all and breaks down in her arms. As the week comes to an end, George invites Gloria and Eddie for dinner in an attempt to get some much needed answers.

The meal gets off to a harmonious start, but it's not long before a huge row ensues when Eddie's rude comments to Gina rile Cindy. George and Gloria have a heart-to-heart, and Gloria shares some invaluable insight into his heritage. What is the big secret?

3. Whitney breaks down over big decision

Whitney and Yolande have a heart-to-heart in EastEnders
Whitney and Yolande have a heart-to-heart. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Zack Hudson (James Farrar) and Whitney are devastated as they break the news to Ashton that he's moving to a new foster home. Whit struggles to cope, while Zack drowns his sorrows at Peggy's with Martin Fowler (James Bye).

Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy) tries to cheer Whitney up at their small new year's Eve bash, but it doesn't help. The next day, as Whitney and Zack discuss some news, they are interrupted by the social worker who has come to collect Ashton.

Whit later shows Sonia a picture of Ashton settled with his new foster family as she tries to come to terms with his early departure. Whitney visits Peach's tree, where she is found by Yolande Trueman (Angela Wynter), who shares her own experience on fostering.

Whit breaks down, and after a heart-to-heart, she makes a decision and heads back home. But what exactly is going on?

4. Denzel makes a blunder

Pastor Clayton and Yolande share a laugh as Denzel watches in EastEnders
Denzel gets it all wrong. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

When the Walford teens decide to have a New Year's Eve party and one of them steals a case of beer from the Minute Mart, they soon realise the beer is alcohol-free when Yolande and Patrick Trueman (Rudolph Walker) check on them!

Yolande agrees to keep their theft a secret in exchange for a favour, and she orders the teens to deliver church leaflets. But Denzel is alarmed when it's suggested that something is going on between Yolande and Pastor Clayton.

Denzel reluctantly agrees to help at Pastor Clayton's soup kitchen. But when he misunderstands a situation between the Pastor and Yolande, Denzel deliberately tips hot curry on the man!

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EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One and from 6am on BBC iPlayer.

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