EastEnders’ Lauren Branning relapse ‘sealed’ as star arrested in dramatic scenes

EastEnders’ Lauren Branning relapse ‘sealed’ as star arrested in dramatic scenes

November 15, 2023

EastEnders' Lauren Branning will find herself getting arrested not long after returning to Walford and it could be to do with her past struggles with addiction.

Lauren, originally played by Madeline Duggan, made her first appearance in 2006 before exiting four years later in 2010. Just months later, Lauren returned but this time, the role had been recast to Jacqueline Jossa.

She was at the centre of several dramatic storylines, including her lengthy battle with alcoholism which began when she discovered her mother had cancer. Lauren's alcohol addiction was so severe that she developed a serious problem with her liver in 2013.

READ MORE: BBC EastEnders' original Penny Branning star looks completely different 15 years on

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The character was sober by the time she officially bid farewell to Albert Square in 2018, but it appears trouble is just around the corner following news of her return. Exclusive pictures show 31-year-old Jacqueline, as Lauren, being stopped by a uniformed officer.

The officer searches Lauren's bag and later arrests her, yanking her arms behind her back. While it is not clear why Lauren is being arrested, it looks as though the officer discovers something suspicious in her possession.

With Lauren's past history, there is every chance her battle with addiction could return and her arrest could be related. Daily Star has quizzed one of the world’s most popular artificially intelligent “creative” tools Bard AI to see if Lauren could relapse.

It responded: "Lauren has a history of alcohol addiction, and she has relapsed in the past. She first started drinking heavily in 2012 when her mother was diagnosed with cancer and she discovered her father's infidelity.

"She has since been in and out of rehab, and she has struggled to stay sober. If Lauren is not careful, she could easily turn back to alcohol to cope with her problems." The programme noted that bosses could return to Lauren's addiction storyline now that the character's comeback is confirmed.

"It is possible that the writers could explore a relapse storyline for Lauren," it said. "This would be a challenging but important storyline to tell, and it could help to raise awareness of alcohol addiction and the importance of seeking help."

Lauren is set to return to Walford alongside her cousin Penny Branning, now played by Kitty Castledine. Speaking of Jacqueline's return, an insider said: “Her old cast mates can’t wait to film with her as she’s such a pro with a great sense of humour."

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