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astEnders spoilers: Long-lost character to return as fans spot clue | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

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Jack Branning (played by Scott Maslen) came to blows with Mel Owen’s (Tamzin Outhwaite) former flame Ray Kelly (Sean Mahon) during Thursday’s instalment of EastEnders.

The two men got into a heated discussion when retired police officer Ray confronted Jack, who has been telling Mel he is suspicious of the newcomer.

Bringing up Jack’s family life, a malicious Ray snarled: “Your last trip abroad was Paris to see your daughter Penny. Terrible what happened.

“All because Daddy annoyed the wrong people. Still, I believe you can live a very full life in a wheelchair.”

He added: “See, I can find out anything about you Jack. I might already know something.

“So it’s really, really not a good idea to draw my attention. You never know what I’m going to come across about you!”

Jack’s daughter Penny suffered severe spinal injuries after a drug dealer deliberately ran her over to spite Jack.

Now, Penny, who left Albert Square with her mum, Selina Branning (Daisy Beaumont) for a life in France in 2008, has to spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair.

Ray’s remarks have lead fans of the show to believe Penny will return to Walford a decade after departing the show.

One person tweeted: "They really should bring Penny back!” while another wrote: “So Jack does remember his daughter Penny! Shook.”

A third penned: "Penny needs to come back to EastEnders,” while a fourth insisted: “They rarely mention people off screen without an agenda.”

Someone else said: “The reference to the cause of Penny’s accident is interesting. I doubt Ray got that information from police sources.”

Viewers will have to wait to found out how Ray gathered so much information about Jack as Sean Mahon, who plays the villain, teased his characters’ secrets.

He told Metro: “It’s always great to come in with a secret that you’re slowly divulging and you sometimes forget that you know where it’s heading.

“Then you read the possible guesses online and you’re like 'that’s so not the right direction!’”

The actor previously hinted about the close relationship between Ray and Mel, suggesting they will become a “unit” in upcoming episodes.

"It’s great to hold the cards and to play them slowly. I think in the coming weeks, we will certainly see how the history of the family pulls them together very quickly,” he explained.

“They become a unit. With any long-standing relationship though."

He conlcuded: "There’s always a fly in the ointment and that will start to raise itself."

EastEnders continues on BBC One at 8.30pm.

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