AARON SIDWELL IS LEAVING EASTENDERS 45

EastEnders have confirmed Steven Beale is to leave Walford at the end of his current storyline.

Actor Aaron Sidwell, who returned to the role last year after an earlier stint between 2007 and 2008, will make his final appearance towards the end of the summer according to a BBC spokesperson: “Aaron Sidwell is involved in one of the big upcoming storylines and we can confirm, following dramatic scenes to be aired later this summer, he will be leaving the show.”

Steven is currently at the centre of a dramatic plot where he is lying to girlfriend Lauren Branning that he has a brain tumour to trap her into an engagement, spurred on by revenge for her secretly aborting his baby and falling for her former boss, Josh Hemmings.

Lauren’s sister Abi knows the brain tumour is a lie and is sleeping with her future brother-in-law, with the Steven promising they’ll be together once he reveals his master plan to his fiancée and dumps her for betraying him.

Max is also in on Steven’s deceit about his health, and is conspiring with him to force Lauren into marriage – although the Branning dad’s motives are unclear as they appear to be tied up in his murky dealings with the Weyland company’s takeover of Albert Square.

With so many elements to the plot in place, speculation is rife as to how Steven will make his exit – and whether he’ll leave dead or alive.

Steven is clearly leading Abi on for his own ends, but what does that entail? Or could he genuinely have feelings for her? Can he really go through with humiliating Lauren? Will he get in too deep with Max’s plan and end up in danger? Having battled psychological demons in the past, could Steven lash out and try and kill Lauren, or Josh – or himself?

The announcement comes after several cast members including Sidwell, as well as Harry Reid, Tilly Keeper and Jasmine Armfield, posted pictures and messages on social media at the weekend from a mysterious leaving party, sparking gossip among fans as to which actor was waving goodbye to Walford.

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ITV CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR HIGHLIGHTS 2017 REVEALED 13

A sleigh full of specials, across entertainment, drama, comedy and factual entertainment, will decorate the ITV schedule this Christmas, with an added festive helping of exciting free-to-air film premieres, with Jurassic World and Spectre coming to terrestrial television for the first time.

Chigwell’s favourite trio return to ITV with a feature length one-off Christmas special of Birds of a Feather. Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph reprise their roles as Sharon, Tracey and Dorien in a new adventure for the ladies. (9pm Monday December 18th).

Then to the London Palladium, where Miranda Hart hosts an unforgettable evening of entertainment in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Variety Performance, where a wide range of internationally acclaimed acts and West End stars are brought together for one night only on a single stage.(7.30pm Tuesday December 19th).

The heroes behind the uniforms will be celebrated and honoured in this one off Christmas special on ITV, A Night For The Emergency Services. Presented by Ashley Banjo and Diversity, the show will feature talented members of the emergency services performing alongside special celebrity guests including Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Leona Lewis and Tokio Myers. (9pm Wednesday December 20th).

Next ITV has a Christmas special with renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo alongside First Dates Maître D Fred Siriex, in which Gino and Gordon will lay on a spectacular banquet for the heroes of 2017. Working against the clock they’ll be assisted by a number of famous faces as the two teams compete to serve the most impressive festive menu. Charming Maître D Fred will not only be tasked with running the service but he’ll be wrangling the results from our deserving diners, whilst keeping the self assured Brit and the feisty Italian apart. Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Great Christmas Roast will be full of festive delight, celebrating great food and even greater Britons. (9pm Thursday December 21st).

The Pub Landlord is back this Christmas to host a one-off festive special with Al Murray’s Make Christmas Great Again where the country’s favourite landlord will be behind the bar for a festive lock-in, with a host of special guests, interviews and sketches, the ultimate public house party. (9pm Friday December 22nd).

On Christmas Eve afternoon ITV will be making a festive splash in Cannonball: Christmas Special, with Freddie Flintoff, Frankie Bridge, Radzi Chinyanganya, Ryan Hand and Maya Jama. (4pm Sunday December 24th). 

Also on Christmas Eve, Bradley Walsh hosts a very special edition of The Chase. It’s a Christmas Chase: Celebrity Special as all five chasers try to catch Coronation Street star Patti Clare, comedian Matt Richardson, presenter Kirsty Wark and singer Jimmy Osmond. (5.50pm Sunday December 24th).

Next on Christmas Eve (6.40pm Sunday December 24th), West End legend Michael Crawford will guide seven well known celebrities through an all singing, all dancing musical theatre extravaganza, in All Star Musicals. Hosted by Freddie Flintoff, All Star Musicals features a cast of famous faces who will each perform an iconic number from a hit musical at the legendary London Palladium.

At 8.30pm on Christmas Eve Rowan Atkinson is back in 1950’s Paris, investigating another case inMaigret in Montmartre.(8.30pm Sunday December 24th).

Christmas Day treats include 60 minute specials of Coronation Street (8pm) and Emmerdale (5.50pm), and Paul O’Grady will be back at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on his Christmas mission to find new homes for more adorable four-legged friends, in Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas.(7pm)

Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes will be back, in a feature length festive special of ITV’s epic period drama, Victoria at 9pm on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day, Ed Chamberlin hosts live racingaction from the Winter Festival at Kempton Park and the Yorkshire Christmas meeting at Wetherby. He is joined at Kempton Park for expert analysis by AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald, with reporters Oli Bell, Luke Harvey, and Rishi Persad, Matt Chapman with the latest betting news, and Richard Hoiles in the commentary box. 

On Boxing Day too, ITV will bring viewers the terrestrial TV premiere of Jurassic World (6.40pm Boxing Day).

On December 30th, viewers are invited to Guess The Star as Jonathan Ross hosts a brand new one-off game show where five well-known stars are completely transformed into their favourite musical icon for a performance. The programme pits three celebrity teams against each other to try and deduce who the disguised stars are, in the shortest time possible. (7pm Saturday December 30th)

On New Year’s Eve, ITV cordially invite you to A Right Royal Quiz (3.30pm Sunday December 31st), Britain’s first ever panel show about the Royal Family and a celebratory and affectionate look at the Royals and the country’s obsession with them. Hosted by Fern Britton, two Royal-loving celebrity teams battle it out to win the prize, the ‘Crown of Right Royalness’. There will also be new Cannonball: Splash Hits (6.50pm Sunday December 31st).

On New Year’s Day Ed Chamberlin kick offs the New Year with the ITV Racing team live at Cheltenham for four races from the home of the National Hunt and two races from Musselburgh. Ed is joined for expert analysis at Cheltenham by Mick FitzGerald and Luke Harvey, with reporting from Rishi Persad and Alice Plunkett, commentary from Richard Hoiles and Sally Ann Grassick reporting from Musselburgh.

New Year’s Day also marks the free-to-air premiere that evening of the latest Bond film, Spectre (8pm January 1st).

Films across the Christmas holiday period on ITV include seasonal treats The Holiday, Santa Claus The Movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Jack Frost, plus family favourites Despicable Me, and Despicable Me 2, the Harry Potter and Hobbit films, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Mr Bean’s Holiday and Babe.

X FACTOR 2017: VOTING STATS REVEALED 18

What a series! Rak-Su may have been crowned your 2017 X Factor winner, but have they always come out on top?

Check out this year’s voting stats below…

Week 1 Saturday
Grace Davies – 21.9%
Holly Tandy – 15.9%
Lloyd Macey – 15.0%
Alisah Bonaobra – 11.8%
Rai-Elle Williams – 11.5%
Leon Mallett – 9.3%
Sam Black – 8.5%
Spencer Sutherland – 6.1%

Week 1 Sunday
Rak-Su – 22.2%
The Cutkelvins – 17.3%
Matt Linnen – 11.9%
Kevin Davy White – 11.1%
Sean & Conor Price – 10.6%
Tracyleanne Jefford – 10.3%
Jack & Joel – 9.2%
Talia Dean – 7.4%

Prize Fight Week 1
Grace Davies – 53.5%
Rak-Su – 46.5%

Week 2 Saturday
Rak-Su – 32.3%
The Cutkelvins – 15.1%
Lloyd Macey – 14.4%
Sam Black – 12.5%
Sean & Conor Price – 10.6%
Jack & Joel – 8.6%
Leon Mallett – 6.5%

Week 2 Sunday
Kevin Davy White – 21.9%
Grace Davies – 18.5%
Holly Tandy – 15.4%
Rai-Elle Williams – 14.3%
Matt Linnen – 13.6%
Alisah Bonaobra – 9.5%
Tracyleanne Jefford – 6.8%

Prize Fight Week 2
Kevin Davy White – 53.6%
Rak-Su – 46.4%

Week 3 Saturday
Kevin Davy White – 25.8%
Rak-Su – 25.7%
Matt Linnen – 14.1%
The Cutkelvins – 13.5%
Sean & Conor Price – 11.2%
Jack & Joel – 9.7%

Week 3 Sunday
Lloyd Macey – 26.4%
Grace Davies – 20.1%
Holly Tandy – 19.7%
Rai-Elle Williams – 14.4%
Sam Black – 11.1%
Alisah Bonaobra – 8.3%

Prize Fight Week 3
Lloyd Macey – 64.3%
Kevin Davy White – 35.7%

Week 4 Saturday
Rak-Su – 36.7%
Lloyd Macey – 22.8%
The Cutkelvins – 18.9%
Sean & Conor Price – 15.4%
Sam Black – 6.2%

Week 4 Sunday
Grace Davies – 26.1%
Matt Linnen – 22.5%
Kevin Davy White – 21.4%
Holly Tandy – 16.1%
Rai-Elle Williams – 13.9%

Prize Fight Week 4
Rak-Su – 61.5%
Grace Davies – 38.5%

Week 5 Saturday
Rak-Su – 26.1%
Kevin Davy White – 19.5%
Lloyd Macey – 19.2%
Grace Davies – 17.2%
The Cutkelvins – 10.1%
Matt Linnen – 7.9%

Week 5 Sunday
Rak-Su – 27.3%
Grace Davies – 26.0%
Kevin Davy White – 18.9%
Lloyd Macey – 18.2%
The Cutkelvins – 9.6%

Week 6 Freeze
Rak-Su – 41.7%
Grace Davies – 35.4%
Kevin Davy White – 22.9%

Week 6 Final
Rak-Su – 51.7%
Grace Davies – 40.1%
Kevin Davy White – 8.2% (Left competition at freeze)