The following article contains spoilers about episodes of EastEnders which will air between December 31 and January 4, so if you don’t want to know what’s coming up on the Square, don’t read on!

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On Monday 31st December, Lexi’s due to be Christened on New Year’s Day, and after receiving a letter, Phil grudgingly tells Lola that Cora and Jay can be Lexi’s Godparents. Phil also admits to Sharon that Peggy won’t be coming to the Christening because Sharon’s going to be there, and in spite of herself, Sharon feels sorry for Phil. He’s touched by her kind support, but uneasy about his growing feelings towards her.

Suddenly, Lola rushes into the living room terrified shouting that Lexi is covered in a rash. Phil virtually snatches Lexi from Lola and rushes off to see the doctor. In the cafe, Cora tries to reassure Lola that Lexi will be okay while Shirley gets her a cup of tea. Phil soon bursts in with Billy on his heels, and shouts at Lola. Lexi has had an allergic reaction, and he asks Lola what she was thinking, smothering a five month old baby in a fancy coconut cream!

Everyone’s stunned by Phil’s furious reaction and later, at the gym, Jack challenges Sharon as to why can’t she see Phil for the bully he is?

Elsewhere, preparations for Zainab’s ‘Party of the Century’ are well under way, but she’s fretting about whether all the invites have gone out as a mischievous AJ assures her that it’s all under control.

However, Zainab’s too busy to notice what AJ’s planning and happily observes that Ayesha and Tamwar are getting on well. Kim and Patrick are reluctant to go to Zainab’s non-alcoholic party, however, Denise is adamant – we’re invited, we’re going!

Denise gets her way and all three, plus Ian Beale, take up AJ’s invite at face value and arrive in fancy dress.

That night, the party’s in full swing and the guests have taken to AJ’s ‘cherryade’. Although, Tamwar discovers it has vodka in it when Ayesha starts throwing up.

Amid the raucous fun, Fatboy answers the phone and sticks a message on Zainab’s fridge. Later, Masood finally finds his chance to tell a thrilled Zainab that they’re going to get married on Valentine’s Day!

In the market, Whitney’s helping Tyler with his bargain bucket stall, where everything is going for £1. But Bianca’s uneasy about the whole dodgy situation that Derek left behind, so when the police come to the door, she knows she’ll have to come clean to her mum about the fact she kept Derek’s stash.

Initially, Carol’s upset to hear the truth, but she understands why Bianca didn’t want to burden her at this sad time. Bianca then tells her mum about Liam shifting Derek’s knock-off gear, and Carol wastes no time in trying to dissuade Liam from following in his uncle’s footsteps, but the teenager swears he doesn’t know where the loot is now.

Carol then tells Bianca that she’s proud of her honesty and that she’s keeping on the right side of the law, no matter how tempting it may be to make money. Later, it seems that Bianca and Carol may have pricked Liam’s conscience when he sends a text to his accomplice saying he wants out.

As evening rolls around, Tommy, Amy, Lexi, Scarlett are upstairs at the Vic ahead of the New Year’s Eve party, and later, whilst upstairs collecting Tommy, Kat’s distraught when she overhears Alfie invite an excited Roxy and Amy to move in with him.

Meanwhile, Sharon’s persuaded Phil to come over and stop being miserable, so to prove he’s in a good mood, he pops open the champagne open for everyone. Sharon divides her time between Jack and Phil, but as Big Ben chimes, Phil sidles over to Jack to share his resolution; this time next year, Sharon will be his.

As Auld Lang Syne rings out across the Square, a solitary figure emerges from the shadows, and after he deletes Liam’s text, he smiles while opening Derek’s precious lock box.

On Tuesday 1st January, Phil wants everything perfect for Lexi’s Christening at St Cuthbert’s later today, and he can’t help but smile as he admires the beautiful gown he’s bought his granddaughter. There’s been no expense will be spared for Lexi’s special day.

Jay and Cora are busy discussing the role they’ll undertake as Godparents with Abi, and Cora remarks that Lexi will need strong Godparents more than most. Meanwhile, at Billy’s flat, Lola’s dressed up and looks beautiful, and Billy’s proud of her. There’s a touching moment as Lola shows Billy the tiny bracelet that she’s had inscribed – Lexi Pearce – for her daughter.

Meanwhile, as Sharon gets ready, Jack worries about the fact she is going to her ex’s granddaughter’s Christening for no good reason. However, he’s distracted as it’s the anniversary of his son James’ death and Jack is feeling deeply saddened.

However, his sorrow turns to anger when he discovers the venue for Lexi’s Christening. Did Phil choose it on purpose? Also, Phil’s words from the night before about Sharon makes him feel vulnerable.

It’s all too much for him and, ignoring his better judgement, Jack bangs on Phil’s door. Things get heated and Lola and Billy have to intervene. But soon, it’s like nothing happened as Phil rushes off to ensure pre-Christening photographs happen at The Vic.

Cora wryly observes that Phil’s a cunning one – he’s got three families involved in Lexi’s Christening, effectively bringing three houses together. She vows not to be his puppet and says Jay must do likewise.

Across the Square, Roxy and Amy move in with Alfie, and Michael jokes that he’ll keep her room free if she ever needs it again. He tells Roxy that she needs to tread with care, saying that the pub does funny things to women; just look at Kat and Sharon!

At the Masoods, Ayesha’s still suffering the effects of the night before, and Zainab’s frantic having just read the note Fatboy left on the fridge. It says that The Kayanis are due to arrive at midday with Rashid, their son, who is to be Ayesha’s future husband. Ayesha explains that it was her father’s dying wish for her to marry a good man. Are Zainab’s plans for Tamwar and Ayesha thwarted?

Elsewhere, Sharon rushes around the Square looking for Jack, and eventually finds him brooding at the gym. She pleads with him to trust her, saying why would she run off with Phil just because she was trying to help him gain custody of Lexi? However, Jack’s afraid of losing her and then makes what might prove to an error by proposing marriage! What will Sharon make of his seemingly throwaway comment?

Meanwhile, heading for the church, the guests climb into their awaiting cabs, but when Lola notices the Order of Service, she sees red. Lola scrambles out the car and Billy can’t believe his eyes as he sees the printed words – Lexi Billie Mitchell.

Later, in his house, Phil and Sharon have a heart to heart and Sharon is absolutely gob-smacked when Phil produces an engagement ring, asking Sharon to marry him.

At the B&B, as Kim and Shirley are worse for wear, Denise takes a call on Shirley’s mobile – it seems Shirley’s defied all the odds and got herself a job at McKlunky’s.

Also on Tuesday 1st January, it’s the day of Lexi’s Christening and Phil’s having it out with Lola in Billy’s flat. She resolutely refuses to have Lexi Christened a Mitchell, saying it’s Lexi Pearce on her birth certificate and that’s how she’ll stay.

Phil tells her that Lola should become a Mitchell, arguing then they’d all be a proper family then. Lexi’s dad is a Mitchell, and her granddad and her great granddad! Phil also tells Lola that he’s asked Sharon to marry him.

As the guests begin to congregate at the church, Phil also arrives, but Lola, Lexi, Billy and Sharon are still nowhere to be seen.

In the churchyard, hand in hand, Roxy and Alfie approach James’ grave, reflecting on their shared pain.

At the gym, Jack’s feeling low and remarks to Michael that the more you try to hold on to what’s dear and control things, the more they slip away. He reveals that he proposed to Sharon, but when Michael mentions the engagement ring she was holding earlier, Jack tells him he hasn’t given her a ring. Both then come to the conclusion that Phil has also proposed.

Michael reluctantly drives Jack, who has been drinking, to the church as he seems intent on a showdown with Phil. However, once there, Jack walks quietly towards the graveyard. Alfie and Roxy leave Jack alone at his son’s grave and reflect as they pass Pat’s grave that the little boy is in good company.

Phil, Lola and Billy arrive flustered at the church, and as they wander inside, Lola wonders where Sharon’s got to. Outside, Sharon makes her way across the graveyard to where Jack is and realises that this is where his baby son’s buried. But will this knowledge alter the choice that Sharon’s going to make?

Finally, Lexi’s christened, but what surname will she now have? Pearce or Mitchell? And after the service, round the side of the church, Sharon smiles as she says yes to the man she loves – but who has she agreed to marry?

Meanwhile, at the Masoods, Zainab tries to keep the Kayani family in her living room as they wait for Ayesha. However, she’s secretly done a runner, not wanting to meet her suitor, Rashid. When they finally catch up with her, Masood gives Ayesha some advice about what he calls the bounteous possibilities of life. In short, he tells her it’s her life and she must choose her own path.

Elsewhere, Joey’s returned to the Square to comfort Alice over their father’s death, but he realises he has his work cut out to get a distraught Alice to forgive him for disappearing.

Also, something’s up with Denise, so Zainab plans a surprise dinner party to cheer her up. As she and Kim conspire, they both have suitors in mind for Denise, but will AJ or Ian impress?

Later, Denise is not amused with how the meal pans out and she explains to Ray that she’s down because her life’s a mess. She reveals that she even thought about going to see Lucas after he sent a visiting order to her. Ray compliments Denise, telling her she’s strong, funny and sexy. However, Denise is stunned and Ray leans in and kisses her!

At the cafe, Lucy breaks the news to Lauren that Joey’s back, and she virtually bolts out the door towards to find him. Once she tracks him down, it’s very awkward between her and Joey as they select music with Alice for Derek’s funeral. Lauren soon leaves, upset at how she’s being ignored by him.

Later, Joey finds Lauren in The Vic and explains that he’s stricken with grief for a father he loathed, and adds that his sister needs him more than ever. The words aren’t spoken, but the cousins are clearly still hopelessly in love. Outside, Lauren and Joey kiss passionately, however, they’re mortified to see Lucy watching them.

On January 3rd, it’s the day of Derek’s funeral and the Brannings are in somber mood but Joey’s angered when he’s told by Jack and Max that he will be respectful and go to his father’s funeral. Joey soon finds that his deep and unresolved feelings about his father are cutting him up. At the Butcher’s, preparations are underway for the wake while Jack speaks to Dot over the phone. She tells him that she’s decided to stay put as Jim is too unwell to attend his son’s funeral.

Meanwhile, Lauren’s sent to the launderette to get the family’s funeral clothes sorted, and she’s more than a little embarrassed when she bumps into Lucy. When Lauren tries to justify her relationship with Joey, Lucy simply doesn’t want to hear it, and bitter words are exchanged.

Lauren feels the need to confide in Lucy that she was driving Derek’s car when she and Joey crashed, and that she’d had a drink. She explains that Joey took the flak for her, and it’s emotive territory for Lucy who soon heads off towards the police station with Lauren hot on her heels.

Back on the Square, Derek’s hearse pulls up outside No23 as Alice and Joey stand side by side on the doorstep. As Walford falls silent, Poppy hands Carol a letter addressed to her. She explains that she found it when Derek’s things were moved. Suddenly, Carol runs back into the Butcher’s house, slamming the door behind her.

On January 4th, Tanya supports a grief-stricken Max as they climb into the awaiting funeral cars, and despite Carol and Jack having gone missing, the cars soon depart heading for the church.

Inside the Butchers, Jack finds Carol sitting on the sofa, letter in hand as he tries to calm her down. Now she knows the contents of David’s letter, which Derek kept from her for months, she’s incensed that the brother she gave all those second chances to, was nothing more than a spiteful bully.

Jack encourages Carol to come to the funeral and deal with this later, but Carol attempts to call the number on the letter, only to find that the number is unobtainable.

When Joey hears where Lauren’s heading, he becomes very agitated and desperate to see her, so Fatboy gives him a lift. On the way, Fatboy speaks from the heart about his troubled relationship with his dad, which resonates deeply with Joey.

Outside the police station, Lucy lets rip at Lauren about her drinking, selfishness and dishonest behaviour. Lucy certainly has the moral high ground, but when push comes to shove, will she really turn her best mate in? Will Lauren tell the truth of her own volition or will Joey stop her just in time?

At the crematorium, when Carol isn’t available to give the eulogy, Cora steps up, and to everyone’s surprise, she gives a very honest account of Derek and what they all thought of him. His grief overwhelming, Joey runs out of the church, and when Alice comforts him, he reveals a secret which leaves her reeling.

More ‘Enders spoilers soon!

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