EastEnders fans were thrown into confusion following last night’s (Monday) episode when sisters, Lauren and Abi Branning, made a shock departure from the Square.
It was recently confirmed that Jacqueline Jossa and Lorna Fitzgerald who play the Branning girls, have both been written out of the show.
It was widely believed that the girls would leave the show around Christmas in an explosive plotline.
But viewers worried last night that their leaving date had been brought forward as both Lauren and Abi went to stay with mum, Tanya, in Exeter.
Abi, who is currently pregnant with Steven Beale’s baby, decided to take some time away from Walford as she wasn’t able to grieve properly for her lover.
Steven, who died earlier this month from a liver bleed, was engaged to Lauren. He had lied to her that he was suffering from a terminal brain tumour.
The truth about his non-existent tumour was revealed on the day of his funeral when his autopsy results were revealed.
Lauren went into meltdown, tearing apart his floral tributes, before ordering everyone to go to the pub and boycott the funeral.
As a result, Abi was the only person who attended Steven’s funeral.
During last night’s episode, Billy worried about what to do with Steven’s ashes as neither Lauren or Ian wanted anything to do with them.
Abi said she’d take them and, during a conversation with housemate Donna, decided she needed to get away for a while to clear her head.
As Abi told Lauren she was off to stay with Tanya, Lauren surprised her by asking if she and baby Louie could come along too.
Abi agreed and the three of them left Walford.
But the shock departure left fans confused, wondering if that was the Branning girls gone for good.
Lorna has played Abi for 11 years, while Jac has starred as Lauren for seven, taking over from Madeline Duggan.