Abi Branning’s life support machine will be switched off next Friday on EastEnders.

Abi, played by Lorna Fitzgerald, has been in an irremediable coma since Christmas Day when she and her sister Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) fell from the roof of the Queen Vic.

As the pair tried to talk their father Max (Jake Wood) out of taking his own life, Lauren lost her footing and Abi’s attempt to grab her resulted in her going over the edge as well. The scenes came after Max’s plans to start a new life with Stacey (Lacey Turner) were thwarted by his ex-wife Tanya (Jo Joyner) who made a surprise return to the Square.

Realising they had become close again, an incredulous Tanya called Stacey out on standing by Max after “everything he’s done”. When it became clear that Stacey wasn’t in possession of the full facts, Tanya was quick to announce that Max was responsible for Steven’s death and nearly Jane’s too.

Despite Joyner confirming on Twitter that her return to the soap ‘is only a visit’, EastEnders fans have been annoyed at Tanya’s lack of appearances since the beeb saga’s Boxing Day episode which was still set on Christmas Day.

However, there was an appearance from Abi and Lauren’s fiery grandmother Cora, played by Ann Mitchell, who left Max in no doubt that she blames him for the situation her grand-daughters had found themselves in.

Lorna Fitzgerald and Jacqueline Jossa were both axed from EastEnders following a management shake-up last year. Lauren’s exit is expected a few weeks after Abi’s death and funeral. The Christmas Day episode has so far consolidated viewing figures of 8.13 million viewers. This is up on last year’s total of 7.9 million viewers.

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday on BBC One.
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