EastEnders: It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas (misery) as Ava Hartman comes back to Walford & Derek Branning reveals Sharon Rickman’s secret! (VIDEO)

Christmas in Walford is rarely a happy time, and this year will be no exception, particularly for the Branning family as Lauren’s (Jacqueline Jossa) drinking spirals out of control and Derek (Jamie Foreman) makes yet more enemies, any of whom could turn out to be a murderer because of course, Derek is set to die over the festive period!

And as if that wasn’t drama enough, Tanya (Jo Joyner) will learn whether her cancer has returned or not, and her recently found sister Ava Hartman (Claire Perkins) is set to make a comeback to the Square in a bid to mend some fences with her long lost family…

But first, apropos of Derek, he’s set to make an enemy of Sharon Rickman after he goes public with her secret, which is of course that she’s had – or may still have – an addiction to painkillers.

Derek will first find out about Sharon’s problem when he spots a bottle of tablets at his brother Jack’s flat. Wanting to know what they are and who they belong to, Jack (Scott Maslen) reluctantly tells Derek about Sharon’s addiction, but swears his brother to secrecy…

But of course, Derek being Derek, he doesn’t miss the opportunity to interfere when he tells Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) that she shouldn’t pin her hopes of getting baby Lexi back on the stability Sharon (Letitia Dean) can offer, saying that she is “a cheap criminal and a drug addict”.

Then later, Derek also spills the beans to Phil (Steve McFadden) who’s horrified and immediately worried how that snippet of news may affect his application for custody of the baby.

Meanwhile, as Derek’s brother Max (Jake Wood) is struggling to get the money for his and Tanya’s wedding together, Derek drops the bombshell that their “friends” from Manchester want more money, and they want it now. So when Max tells Derek that he can’t get the cash, Derek warns, “They won’t take it well…”

Will it be these “friends” who murder Derek?

But back now to Ava’s return to Walford, as Christmas approaches, she has a change of heart about not wanting anything more to do with her sister Tanya or mum Cora (Ann Mitchell) and she turns up in the Square with Christmas cards…

Will Cora and Tanya welcome her back or will it be more heartache for all concerned? Well, we’ll of course find out in due course, but for now, here’s a sneak peek look at Monday’s episode of EastEnders which sees Joey (David Witts) trying to save Lauren from herself…

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