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Jacqueline Jossa makes early return from maternity leave to film 'explosive' EastEnders scenes

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Jacqueline Jossa has reportedly cut short her maternity leave to make a dramatic return to EastEnders. The 22-year-old, who plays Lauren Branning in the BBC soap, is said to be filming a handful of episodes that will make for "explosive" viewing.

The actress, who welcomed daughter Ella in February, was last seen in the soap when her character moved to New Zealand with Peter Beale that same month. However she is set to come back when her dad Max Branning stands trial for the murder of Lucy Beale.

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Jacqueline Jossa is set to return to EastEnders

"Max's trial will be a very exciting storyline and Lauren's return will be explosive because she knows Max didn't kill Lucy," a source told The Sun. "She agreed not to unmask Bobby as the killer but surely that won't be at the expense of her own father…"

Jacqueline is already said to have filmed some scenes, but will not make her formal return to the show until her maternity leave ends in the New Year. The mum-of-one has stayed quiet about her Albert Square comeback, but was joined by her fiancé Dan Osborne, their daughter Ella and Dan's son Teddy for a visit to the set in July, prompting speculation that she might be planning her return to the show.

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Jacqueline is on maternity leave with her daughter Ella

For now it appears Jacqueline is happy spending quality time with six-month-old Ella, who she often shares photos with on her Instagram account. The brunette beauty also has a wedding to plan following Dan's romantic proposal during a family holiday to Greece in June.

The couple often post loved-up snaps together on social media, with Jacqueline telling fans that Dan's proposal was "one of the best moments of my life," as she shared a glimpse at the moment the former TOWIE star popped the question.