What happened to Penny Branning in EastEnders? Everything you need to know

Penny Branning holding a baby
What happened to Penny Branning in EastEnders? (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders has announced that Penny Branning is set to return to Walford alongside her cousin Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa).

Jack Branning’s (Scott Maslen) daughter Penny is making her way back to Walford after 15 years of living in France with her mum, Selina (Daisy Beaumont). But now she is on her way to Albert Square, alongside her cousin Lauren — but what brings the pair back to their former home remains to be seen. 

Since leaving the Square 15 years ago, you may be wondering what happened to Penny Branning in EastEnders? And where did she go?

Here's a refresher on where the youngster went after her time in Walford as she makes her Walford comeback...

Penny and Lauren Branning standing outside the Queen Vic pub in EastEnders

Penny is returning with her cousin Lauren Branning. (Image credit: BBC)

What happened to Penny Branning in EastEnders?

Penny is the daughter of Jack and his first wife Selina and was only in the soap for a short while, appearing from January to April 2008.

Penny made her first appearance on the Square in January 2008, when Jack was dating Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Womack).

Jack revealed to Ronnie the shocking reason why Penny was in a wheelchair was because of his criminal activities as a corrupt police officer. Before his life in Walford, one of Jack's dodgy informants deliberately hit Penny with his car in revenge for being sent down.

Penny's spinal cord was severed during the ordeal and left her paralysed from the waist down.

During her short time on the Square, Penny and Ronnie struggled to bond, but she got on well with her aunt Tanya Cross (Jo Joyner).

In April 2008, Selina decided to move to France to be with her parents and take Penny with her, but during Penny's goodbye dinner cooked by Tanya, it was apparent that Penny didn't want to leave Walford behind.

However, Jack persuaded her to go to France with Selina.

Tanya Cross and Penny Branning

Penny bonded well with her aunt Tanya Cross. (Image credit: BBC)

Where did Penny Branning go?

Penny left Walford in April 2008 to live in France with her mum, Selina. Now, she's set to return to the Square 15 years later.

Who plays Penny Branning in EastEnders?

Penny was originally played by Mia McKenna-Bruce, who has since gone on to play Tee Taylor in CBBC's Tracy Beaker Returns and The Dumping Ground.

She's also acted in The Witcher, Netflix film Persuasion, the BBC series Get Even, Vampire Academy, Holby City, Last Train to Christmas and many more.

The role of Penny has now been recast, with rising star Kitty Castledine taking over the character in her first major television role after graduating from the London Academy of Music and Drama (LAMDA) this summer. 

Speaking of joining the show, Kitty said: “I didn’t expect to start my EastEnders journey so soon out of drama school – I can’t believe it! My whole family are EastEnders fans, and I remember sitting on my Nanny Kay’s lap to tune in, and now they get to watch me in Albert Square.

"The inclusion of disabled talent on screen is so important to me as a wheelchair user, so I’m thrilled to be playing a character as feisty and cool as Penny. She’s thrown into the middle of the drama straight away, and I can’t wait to see what she gets up to.”

Penny Branning with her dad Jack

Penny was originally played by Mia McKenna-Bruce. (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders airs Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 7.30 pm on BBC One — see our TV Guide for full listings. You can also catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer now. 

Grace Morris
Staff Writer

Grace is a digital writer with WhatToWatch.com, where she writes series guides, recaps and features for must-watch shows and delivers all the latest soap news and reactions. She graduated from Anglia Ruskin University in 2020 with a degree in Writing and Film Studies, which only made her love for creative writing, film and TV grow stronger.

You'll usually find her watching the drama unfold in the latest reality series or much-loved UK soaps (usually with chocolate by her side!). She's an expert in EastEnders, Emmerdale, Coronation Street and everything reality-related from Selling Sunset and Married At First Sight UK to 90 Day Fiancé UK. Plus Netflix megahit Virgin River!

Grace also likes to explore new places with her friends and family and, of course, watch and read about the latest films and TV series.