The ratings may be falling but it seems as though the gang at EastEnders have realised that nobody wants another 6 months of Kat and Alife will-they-won't-they or Max Branning and Hair Extensions getting each other into all sorts of trouble, opting to go for a serious storyline instead.

It's been revealed that one of the soap's most prominent characters will undergo a battle with breast cancer, with the first scenes airing over the Christmas / New Year period.

SPOILER ALERT: If you'd rather not know which character will be affected we suggest you look away now.


Still with us? Ok then.

The soap's producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins revealed that Carol Jackson (Lindsey Coulson) will discover a lump in her breast over the next few weeks, and will be referred on to a specialist for further investigation.

"This is a very important storyline as breast cancer is something that affects so many people" Coulson said. "Through Carol's story I hope we can raise awareness of the impact of breast cancer on the people that have it and their families."

The storyline will see on-screen daughter Sonia (Natalie Cassidy) returning to Walford as Carol's battle shakes the family to its core. David (Michael French) and Bianca (Patsy Palmer) will also have a rather central role to play.

"EastEnders has a long tradition of dealing with social issues and breast cancer is one that the majority of people have been affected by in some way. And this is not just a story about breast cancer" Treadwell-Collins said. "This is a story about women, about mothers and daughters, and ultimately about family."