EastEnders will be mourning the loss of Derek Branning this Christmas, it has been confirmed. The Walford hardman, played by Jamie Foreman, is set to be killed off in a series of 'explosive storylines'. Preview pictures shown on the BBC soap's website show Derek's son Joey (David Witts) breaking down at the funeral as sister Alice (Jasmyn Banks) comforts him, while another image shows Bianca Jackson (Patsy Palmer), her son Liam (James Forde), Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) and Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) paying their respects as the hearse drives past. Details about how Derek will meet his end are being kept under wraps by EastEnders' bosses, although an insider told the Daily Star: "Derek's death will have far-reaching repercussions in Walford." Since arriving on Albert Square in November 2011, Derek has established himself as quite an intimidating figure. The Walford villain's dastardly deeds include stealing from Lucy Beale, running both David Wicks and Anthony Moon off the square, revealing the truth behind Dennis Rickman's murder to his young son, Denny, and generally making his family's lives a nightmare. Meanwhile, David has teased that his alter-ego will fall head over heels in love for cousin Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa). "I think it was always obvious that Joey liked Lauren. For the first time in his life he falls in love - but it's a girl who's a relative. That's karma for you," he told the Daily Star.
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