Since joining the cast of EastEnders four years ago to play wild child Lauren Branning, Jacqueline Jossa has rocked Albert Square with her self-destructive behaviour, battling alcoholism and seducing a string of men.
Now Lucy Beale’s murder is turning Lauren’s life upside-down again and threatening to turn her back to the bottle.
Lauren has been busy playing detective. She has had her ex, Jake Stone, arrested, after she told police of his meeting with Lucy on the night of her death.
But fans will have to wait until EastEnders’ 30th anniversary in February 2015 to discover whether Lauren believes Jake is a killer – or has been covering her tracks and throwing the police off the scent of the real killer: her. Until then the murder remains a mystery, with every cast member a potential suspect.
The next big development in the storyline will be Lucy’s funeral on Tuesday, May 20.
Jacqueline, 21, reveals to the Express newspaper how she is enjoying being at the centre of the show’s murder hunt and why this is just the beginning of Lauren’s new journey on Albert Square.
How will Lauren cope at the funeral?
“Lauren is trying to be strong for Peter. I don’t think she’s really had her breaking down, falling apart moment yet.”
How does it feel to be part of such a strong storyline?
“It’s been challenging and good working with the Beales again. I’m in a lot of scenes with Adam (Woodyatt – Ian) and Ben (Hardy – Peter).”
Do people keep asking you who the murderer is?
“Yes. The good thing is, I actually don’t know, so I don’t have to lie.”
Lauren and Peter kissed. Will that develop?
“I don’t think it was meant to happen. They were just helping and confiding in each other. It opens up feelings that maybe they didn’t know were there.”
If neither of them is Lucy’s killer, could Peter tame Lauren?
“I think they are good for each other. Maybe he’d be too boring for her. He could be good, but whether she would realise that, I don’t know.”
How do you think others would react to a possible romance?
“Lauren and Peter were puppy loves so people would think it would be nice to rekindle the flame. Although I don’t think Lola would be too happy about it.”
Would you like Lauren to settle down?
“I prefer her bad – but she could still be in a relationship. It would be nice for her to be in a relationship, so she could stop sleeping with every Tom, Dick and Harry.”
Are people worried Lauren to turn to drink again?
“Yes, and she’s worried too. Everyone’s on edge, thinking about their own problems. If Lauren is left alone and doesn’t get help, it could go wrong… and it probably will.”
And she doesn’t even know yet that her dad was sleeping with Lucy…
“That’s probably going to be the big breakdown. How can they rebuild a relationship after everything Max has done? He’s the worst dad in the world. It probably will lead to a bit of a downward spiral for Lauren. Again, she feels bad about everything. Her dad has messed up again.”