Christmas EastEnders: Max is back and it could be Phil's last

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Albert Square looks set to be a grim place to spend the festive season, as Phil Mitchell's health deteriorates in tonight's episode.

Viewers will see the Walford stalwart, played by Steve McFadden, succumb further to the liver failure and low moods that are a result of his alcoholism in what could be his last Christmas with the soap.

EastEnders Phil
Phil's health has been going rapidly downhill (BBC)

Phil is yet to discover that Denise Fox (Diane Parish) is carrying his baby from a one-night stand earlier in the year that he is apparently unable to remember, while Denise will not be enjoying a relaxing Christmas Day either.

In a trailer for the festive period, as the other residents of the square urge him to battle his illness he says: "There's nothing here for me now."

Phil's nearest and dearest, including Billy Mitchell (Perry Fenwick) and Sharon Mitchell (Letitia Dean), are expected to get some bad news about him in the coming days.

EastEnders Max
Max makes his big comeback - but why? (BBC)

Elsewhere, Max Branning (Jake Wood) makes his return to Walford and he is on the warpath after being framed by the Beales for their daughter Lucy's murder.

And there could be drama over the dinner table for the Carters as Lee's (Danny-Boy Hatchard) secrets bring his mood even lower and dad Mick (Danny Dyer) warns that he needs to talk things through with his wife Whitney (Shona McGarty) to save their relationship - but will she be able to forgive his misdemeanours?

:: EastEnders airs tonight on BBC One at 9.25pm.