Max Branning will make a surprise return to 'EastEnders' at Christmas.

Jake Wood as Max Branning

Jake Wood as Max Branning

The ginger love rat - who is played by Jake Wood - has only been seen briefly in Walford in July since he was wrongly convicted of Lucy Beale's (Hetti Bywater) murder, and after being released in May when it emerged her little brother Bobby (Eliot Carrington) was the real killer, it looks like Max will have revenge in mind as he bursts in on their dad Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and his family celebrations on 25 December.

Elsewhere on Albert Square during the festive season, the soap will continue to explore the ill health of alcoholic Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), who is battling cirrhosis and is going rapidly downhill after rejecting a liver transplant, meaning this could well be his last Christmas.

And newly-released teasers for the BBC1 show reveal Lee Carter's (Danny-Boy Hatchard) mental health will be further cause for concern as he struggles to cope with his lies to wife Whitney (Shona McGarty) about his job, while battling against the bullies.

But will his guilty conscience push him over the edge, or is he set for a confrontation?

Though it hasn't been confirmed by show bosses, it is widely expected that the blonde sisters Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell will be killed off during the festive season.

It was previously claimed Ronnie (Samantha Womack) will be drowned by her own wedding dress shortly after marrying Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) for the second time.

A source said: "Ronnie has had some grim storylines, it's fitting she goes in similar fashion."

Ronnie will meet her maker after tragically finding her drunk sister Roxy - who previously slept with Jack - face down dead in a swimming pool.

But when Ronnie jumps in to try to save her sibling - portrayed by Rita Simons - she too will die.