EastEnders sisters Lauren and Abi Branning are leaving the BBC soap, it has been confirmed. The onscreen siblings, played by Jacqueline Jossa and Lorna Fitzgerald, will make their exit in the coming months as part of a big cast shake-up by TV boss John Yorke. A spokesperson said: "We can confirm that Jacqueline and Lorna will be leaving EastEnders. They have both been wonderful to work with and we wish them all the best for the future."
Sisters Lauren and Abi Branning are set to leave EastEnders
Lorna, 21, has been on the soap for 11 years, having joined in 2006. Her character, pub chef Abi, is currently pregnant with Steven Beale's baby – the fiancé of her sister Lauren. Steven was killed off in a bungled arson on Friday night's episode. Jacqueline, meanwhile, has appeared on the soap for seven years, and has been at the centre of some major storylines, including Lauren's addiction to alcohol.
It's not known how the sisters will leave the show, although it's thought their exits could be part of a major Christmas storyline. Ahead of their departure, Abi and Lauren are set for some dramatic times as they deal with the repercussions of Steven's death. The character was seen declaring his love for Abi in the moments before his death, after discovering she was pregnant with his baby. Spoiler pictures, meanwhile, show recovering alcoholic Lauren relapse as she struggles to come to terms with Steven's death.
The onscreen siblings are played by Jacqueline Jossa and Lorna Fitzgerald
The siblings are also set to discover the secrets of their father Max before they leave. He has been plotting against the people of Albert Square since being released from prison following his wrongful conviction for Lucy Beale's murder. However, his scheme looks set to come to light in the coming weeks, following Jane Beale's discovery of his plans.