EASTENDERS has dropped a hint that Rainie Cross' secret sister Ava Hartman will make a shock return to Albert Square.
Ava – played by Clare Perkins – is the eldest daughter of Cora Cross, and was last seen by fans of the soap back in 2012 alongside sister Tanya Branning.
Mother-of-one Ava was on a mission to figure out who her birth family was after she was given up for adoption when she was born.
But her cause found her at the centre of drama in the Square, as it was revealed that Cora, played by Ann Micthell, was her mother – making for a difficult reunion.
It all came to heads when Cora revealed she had to give up Ava as, back in the 60s it was difficult for a white woman to raise a black baby.
The mother-daughter duo worked hard to rebuild their relationship, with Ava eventually bringing her son Dexter Hartman, played by Khali Best, to Walford.
Ava and Cora came together to establish a happy extended family – until 2013 when the newcomer was offered a job in Newcastle and moved away.
Ava called Cora "mum" for the first time before she left Walford, having never met sisters Rainie, played by Tanya Franks, and Tanya Branning, played by Jo Joyner.
With eight years having passed since her last appearance, it may have been a clue that Ava is set to return as her name was recently brought up in an episode.
Vi Highway, played by Gwen Taylor, was telling Raine how she gave her own son Christopher – who was born with Downs Syndrome – up for adoption.
The recent scenes saw the grandmother reveal her secret to Cora's daughter, who began to dig into the life of her mother's eldest child Ava.
Rainie could be heard telling Vi: "My mother, she gave up a child when she was younger, but it stayed with her, that hurt and that guilt.
"When she met her years later, that daughter she gave up, she had a good life. A great life – and she knew mum had suffered."
It marked the first time Ava had been mentioned in many years – hinting that bosses could be thinking about bringing her back to Walford.
With Tanya and Cora both gone, Raine's older sister could be the ideal person to help her through motherhood, with ha new baby on the way.
Speaking about her character Ava during her time on the show, actress Clare Perkins said her character's relationship with mum Cora was "ridiculous".
"They were both living in Albert Square, so it was kind of ridiculous that they played a cat-and-mouse game," she explained to Digital Spy .
"With one of them being nice, and the other refusing the invitation and pretending that they're not bothered.
"It was quite unhealthy for both of them to not be exploring their many issues, so I think it was a good thing to see their relationship blossoming."
EastEnders continues Thursday at 7:35pm on BBC One.
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