Abi Branning, an Eastenders youngster, hasn’t been seen on the Square in months, but her reappearance could come at the worst possible time, as Stuart Highway continues to take drastic measures in the wake of his cancer diagnosis.
Last year on EastEnders, Abi was kidnapped by her grandfather Max Branning (Jake Wood), leaving her adoptive mother Rainie Highway (Tanya Franks) heartbroken because she had raised the youngster as her own. Stuart’s (Ricky Champ) wife has been pleading with her surrogate daughter to return for months, and she even found out that Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) had given birth to her ex-child husband’s in the hopes of luring him out of hiding. The investigation into Abi’s disappearance has yielded no results, but as Stuart departs in upcoming scenes on the BBC soap, Rainie may be forced to choose between finding her other half and raising her adopted daughter.
As Stuart seeks alternative treatments for his breast cancer, the drama will continue in next week’s installments of the weeknight serial drama.
He has been afraid to rely on pharmaceutical medicine because he fears reverting to old habits if it is reintroduced into his system.
As he progresses in his research, the undertaker enrolls in a health retreat and informs his wife via voicemail.
She’ll probably be furious that he didn’t tell her face to face or speak to her about his plans so they could make the decision together.
Unfortunately, as she prepares to bring her husband home so that he can attend his hospital appointment, she may be in for a very special delivery.
When she opened the front door of her flat, she saw a young Abi standing there, and she was overjoyed to see her surrogate daughter.
Max would be nowhere to be found, but it’s assumed he was the one who dropped off the youngster after deciding she’d be happier with Rainie.
Stuart’s wife may experience a bittersweet moment, knowing that her family is incomplete and that this isn’t how she would have wanted Abi to return home.
As Rainie and Callum Highway (Tony Clay) try to track Stuart down, the Highway household will be filled with stress and tension.
This means they won’t be able to focus entirely on Abi, but will telling Stuart she’s home compel the undertaker to return?
Tanya, who plays Rainie, has opened up about what her character was thinking after learning of Stuart’s diagnosis.
Tanya explained: “She’s petrified. Let’s not forget what she’s going through right now, she doesn’t know where Abi is in the world.
“She has a baby growing inside a woman she doesn’t see, and she’s now in danger of losing the father of that baby, as well as her husband, whom she adores.”
“She’s dealing with three major losses right now,” the soap star explained, adding that having at least one of them return would make things much easier.
Despite her stress and fear of her husband’s departure, she would remind herself that she has Abi back and that she must remain strong for her.
Rainie would have previously turned to drugs to help her get through her problems, which would have set her back in her recovery.
She knows she can’t let her guard down with Abi around, and she couldn’t abandon her now that she’s gotten her back.
Bernadette Taylor (Clair Norris) is still pregnant with Rainie and Stuart’s baby while all of this is going on in Walford.
She has been keeping Rainie up to date on her progress while she has been living away from the Square, but it was Abi’s disappearance that prompted the couple to have their own child.
The mother of two would like her other child to be a part of her life as well, so that her family is complete rather than just parts of it.
Tanya explained: “[Abi being kidnapped by Max] definitely makes her more determined to get it going and move it forward.
“She’s promised Abi that she’ll have a little brother or sister, so get this family together.
“She is determined to make it happen. She is adamant that Abi will return home, so she wants everything ready for her when she does.
“She really wants Abi back. This is a kick in the stomach for Rainie,” the soap star said but will she be able to keep her promises?
Or will she become a single mother to two young children because her husband refuses to support her at home?
Stuart would never want to abandon Rainie because she has helped him grow into a better person.
“Stuart has come pretty much full circle from where he was last year, and the reason for that is Rainie,” Ricky said in an interview with the actor who plays him.
“Stuart’s rage is still there, but you have to do something bad to the woman he loves to fully access it.”
“His character has grown tremendously; he has progressed in leaps and bounds as a result of all of these storylines that have occurred to him and shaped him.”
He’s defeated a lot of demons on his way to where he is now, and he’s come a long way. It’s interesting because there are still a few people left.”
Will he realize what he’s done to Rainie is the worst thing he could have done and rush back to help her with the kids?
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