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‘It’s shocking to see teens downing drinks’

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Eastenders beauty Jacqueline Jossa says she’s hoping her character Lauren’s booze battle will help curb the nation’s bevvy culture.

The Walford favourite has been hitting the bottle hard and it all comes messily home this week.

“It’s a subject that needs tackling,” admits Jacqueline. When I watch those holiday documentaries it is shocking to see young people downing drinks so fast. They don’t even remember what they’ve done.”

Jacqueline says she’s seen a real spread of opinion from the public, from old ladies asking her to stop to clubbers offering her free drink.

She keeps her own partying down to much more conservative levels, one night a week at most, and hopes the story hits home. It’s certainly hard-hitting with the extent of Lauren’s drinking becoming clear tomorrow. Tanya (Jo Joyner) and Max (Jake Wood) are stunned by the number of empty bottles left by their daughter.

“There are quite a few,” confirms Jacqueline, who was pipped by Corrie rival Michelle Keegan for the Sexiest Female gong at last month’s British Soap Awards.

“Lauren is trying to hide them. She tries to cover it up, saying they’ve been there for ages. She says they’re from parties and that she hasn’t been necking them, but she has. She doesn’t let herself have a hangover because as soon as one sets in she starts drinking again.”

Gran Cora advises professional help but with the drinking obviously out of control Tanya, realising she has an alcoholic daughter, decides drastic action is needed. Locks are put on the doors, leaving Lauren under virtual house arrest despite Abi’s attempts to bond.

“I don’t think Lauren worries about Abi or how she is hurting her,” explains 20-year-old Jacqueline. “All she thinks about is the drink. The script people have worked with a charity. And I have read some stuff and that is what people in Lauren’s situation do.

“She knows she’s getting on people’s nerves but all she sees is drink and the way she feels when she gets it. She will do whatever it takes. For example, she would rather risk climbing out of the window than stay in the house with Tanya.”

But as the withdrawal symptoms creep in, things just get harder for Lauren this week. The gruelling story has meant tough filming days for Jacqueline.

“It does come to an end so I’ve done all the big stuff now I’ve been chilling!” she adds.

EastEnders, BBC1, Monday, Tuesday & Friday