Viewers of EastEnders desperately want the character of Lauren Branning to return to Walford – even if it means she comes back with a new face.
This week, the BBC soap revealed that Peter Beale is returning in 2020 after five years away from Albert Square.
This time, Dayle Hudson will be taking over the role from previous incarnation, Ben Hardy, who has gone on to star in Hollywood films including Bohemian Rhapsody.
Actor Dayle will be the seventh actor to take on the character.
If Jacqueline Jossa doesn’t want to come back, then they could easily recast the character.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that soap fans want Peter’s love interest Lauren Branning to return, too.
Long-term Easties viewers know that Peter couldn’t cope with the news that Bobby had killed his twin sister Lucy, so he left Walford for a new life in New Zealand with fiancée Lauren.
Now viewers have begged Lauren to return – even if it means she is recast.
Jacqueline Jossa played the role from 2010 to 2018, but she wasn’t the first as she followed Madeline Duggan, who portrayed the character from 2006 to 2010.
But will Jacqueline be the last?
Writing on Digital Spy Forums, one fan said: “They will probably recast Lauren again. If Jacqueline Jossa does not want to come back and the producers want the character Lauren to return then you might as well recast her.”
Another said: “If Jacqueline Jossa doesn’t want to come back, then they could easily recast the character with a better actress.”
A third added: “Well, as EastEnders have switched between Sam Mitchells, there’s no reason why they couldn’t bring back the original Lauren or recast.”
One more typed: “Lauren could be recast, as Jac Jossa herself was a recast.
“I accept that the majority of Lauren’s big storylines were acted out by Jossa and she was especially prominent in 2011 and 2012.
“But some of Lauren’s most iconic moments were portrayed by Madeline. The Stax reveal as an example. And running Max over.”
“Bit annoyed Jac Jossa isn’t coming back now too. This would have been perfect,” said another, while one more simply said: “Recast Lauren too, please.”
— EastEnders Weekly Podcast (@eastendersweek) December 18, 2019
Others, however, believed recasting Lauren would be a “big mistake”.
One said: “I would be astonished if they recast Lauren, as Jac Jossa is a huge name now, even more so recently.”
Another added: “Recasting Jac now would be an incredibly dumb move for the show, fair enough if in a year Jac still doesn’t want to return, but right now seems shortsighted.”
A third tweeted: “We would not accept a Lauren recast – Jac Jossa only please!”
I mean not gonna lie they could recast virtually any character (except Ben and Callum, hands off) – but recast Lauren Branning and you'll regret it #EastEnders
— Tom Gardiner (@IAmTomGardiner) December 18, 2019
We would not accept a Lauren recast – Jac Jossa only please! 😂
— E20 Podcast (@E20Podcast) December 18, 2019
Fans now predict she’ll demand “big bucks” to return to the BBC soap, and think she’ll be hosting next year’s spin-off show on ITV2, I’m A Celebrity: Extra Camp.
This week, Jac said she might return to Walford “one day” but admitted she wanted to try musical theatre first.
Would you like to see Jacqueline Jossa replaced as Lauren Branning? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!