One of the most-loved characters on EastEnders will be returning to the BBC soap after departing in 2018.

Jacqueline Jossa will be heading back to Albert Square as Lauren Branning full-time after a number of guest appearances since she left five years ago, such as attending Dot Cotton’s funeral in December last year.

She announced the news in a statement over the weekend which was exclusively revealed by The Sun on Sunday.

Jacqueline said: "I’m really excited! It’s such an amazing time to be back as there is so much buzz around EastEnders at the moment, and I’ve been watching and loving it like a fan.

Walford holds such a special place in my heart, so it really does feel like coming home."

EastEnders star Jacqueline Jossa returns as Lauren Branning full-time

It’s thought the 30-year-old's first storyline will cause quite a bit of drama as her character Lauren becomes entangled with back-from-the-dead Cindy Beale who is played by Michelle Collins.

Jacqueline who was crowned Queen of the Jungle on I’m A Celebrity in 2019 first joined EastEnders in 2010 when she was just 17 years old.

A TV source told The Sun: “Jacqueline’s return as Lauren Branning is going to spell lots of drama in Albert Square.

“The character has a lot of history and scores to settle, she is definitely going to bring the drama.

“Bosses are staying tight-lipped about when fans will see her return on-screen.

“But it’s set to be around the end of the year and likely to coincide with the soap’s legendary festive storylines.

“Her old castmates can’t wait to start filming with her too as she’s such a pro and has a great sense of humour.”

Meanwhile, EastEnders’ executive producer Chris Clenshaw added: “I’m delighted to welcome Jacqueline back to the role of Lauren Branning.

“We only saw Lauren on-screen a few of months ago, but her return left plenty of unfinished business between her and the Beales.

“The Branning family have a long history of being at the heart of the drama in Walford, and we’re thrilled to have Jacqueline back in the Square as she continues that family tradition.”