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'EastEnders' spoilers: Linda Carter has an unwelcome birthday surprise!

Linda Carter gets a surprise present from Max Branning in EastEnders
Linda Carter is stunned by a surprise gift. (Image credit: BBC)

Linda Carter gets a message from Max Branning in Thursday's hour-long episode of EastEnders (7.40 pm. See our TV Guide for full listings).

Linda Carter wakes up on her birthday but she doesn't quite get the gift that she wanted... when she's given a package that's been delivered in the mail she is shocked to find out that it's something from the unwitting father of her baby, Max Branning!

Max has been missing with his granddaughter little Abi Branning, illegally abducting her and taking her away from her co-guardian, Max's ex-wife Rainie Highway. After spotting that the postmark on the package is Croatia, Linda debates whether to tell Rainie so she can track Abi down.

But with Max not knowing that he got Linda pregnant after their fling at Christmas, Linda talks to husband Mick Carter. They both agree that it's too risky to let Rainie know where Max is, as the last thing they want is for him to return to the Square.

With Max well and truly out of the picture, it gives Mick a chance to bring up Linda's baby as his own, as Max is nothing but trouble...

Linda Carter is unhappy about her birthday party in EastEnders

Linda Carter is fuming with Frankie Lewis for arranging a surprise party. (Image credit: BBC)

Meanwhile, Mick's daughter Frankie Lewis wants to throw a party for Linda's birthday. When she brings it up with Linda, she gently turns her down. Undeterred, Frankie goes ahead with a surprise party anyway, much to Linda's horror, especially when Frankie's made a big deal about her pregnancy!

Linda and Mick's daughter Nancy Carter realises that Linda is mortified by the attention but she thinks she was too harsh with Frankie. Suggesting her mum apologise to Frankie for her harsh words, she points out that it's about time both Frankie and Mick's mum Shirley Carter learned the truth about the baby's father...

Bernadette Taylor wants what she's owed in EastEnders

Bernadette Taylor wants what she's owed from Rainie Highway. (Image credit: BBC)

Rainie Highway and Stuart Highway are nervous and excited about the upcoming insemination appointment, as is surrogate Bernadette Taylor. As they set off for the appointment, Rainie is less than pleased when Stuart's nan Vi Highway invites herself along!

After the insemination, Rainie gives Bernie the first instalment of her money. When Bernie realises it's less than they agreed, she feels dejected. Bernie's mate Tiffany Butcher-Baker is outraged on behalf of her friend, insisting she needs to get her money.

When Bernie confronts Rainie, she confesses that she's running short of cash, as she's handed a fee to a private investigator to track down Max and little Abi.

Later, Tiffany is worried about her friend when Bernie wants to order more slimming pills and she realises how desperate the Taylor family are for money...

Kat Slater begs Phil Mitchell to be cautious in EastEnders

Kat Slater begs Phil Mitchell not to ruin his chance to be a dad to Raymond. (Image credit: BBC)

Phil Mitchell spots Denise Fox in the cafe with their son Raymond. Phil is bitter that Raymond has no idea who he really is, Phil invites Denise to bring Raymond to the opening of his new cab company with Kat Slater. When an unimpressed Denise fobs him off, Phil simmers with rage!

Meanwhile, Kat is interviewing potential cabbies and she gives Mitch Baker a job. When she has a moment to chat to Phil she's shocked when he says he wants to tell Raymond that he's his daddy!

Kat insists that if Phil goes blundering into telling Raymond the truth against Denise's wishes, it will only make Denise more determined to keep him out of their son's life. She suggests that Phil play the long game instead, but will Phil see sense?

Ruby Fowler talks to Jean Slater in EastEnders

Jean Slater has been there for Ruby Fowler in her troubled bid to have a baby. (Image credit: BBC)

Also, Jean Slater encourages Ruby Fowler to see that she's worthy of being a mum, while Chelsea Fox has her eye on luring in Gray Atkins.

EastEnders continues on BBC1 on Monday at 8:00 pm. Air date may change due to Euro 2020 football. All of this week's episodes are available on iPlayer from Monday 28 June.