Derek Branning
It was revealed last month that Derek Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, was being axed from the hit soap. PHOTO CREDIT: BBC

It is known for its dramatic Christmas specials, so it comes as no surprise that the residents of Albert Square are in for yet another gruesome festive season.

EastEnders' hardman Derek Branning, played by Jamie Foreman, is reportedly set to become the latest charterer to be killed off over Christmas in an "explosive storyline".

As the eldest of the Branning Brothers, the ex-con has wreaked nothing but destruction and havoc since he arrived on the square in early 2011.

His multitude of sins includes handling stole goods, threatening his brother's wife, stealing from a teenager and constantly deceiving his family.

But it looks like the loathsome character could finally be getting his comeuppance.

Cast members were snapped filming the villain's funeral in a churchyard earlier this week.

Among the "mourners" at the burial were Jack Branning (Scott Maslen), Michael Moon (Steve John Shepherd), Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) and Cora Cross (Ann Mitchell).

A show insider told the Sun: "Derek has been a huge force in the Square since he joined and has had some fantastic storylines but his exit will be his best storyline yet.

"It's being kept tightly under wraps because bosses want to surprise fans on Christmas Day."

It would not be the first time a bady has been killed over Christmas.

Last year, viewers saw doctor Yusef Khan perish in a fire and in 2009 Archie Mitchell was dramatically murdered in the Queen Vic pub by Stacey Slater.