|“||I am Derek Branning, and I am the head of this family!||„|
|~ Derek trying to stamp his authority over his brothers, Max and Jack.|
Derek Branning is a fictional character and recurring anti-villain of the British soap opera EastEnders. He is the brother of Max Branning. He first appeared as a minor antagonist in 1996 and went on to serve as a supporting antagonist/anti-hero on 2011 and the main antagonist throughout 2012.
He was portrayed by Jamie Foreman, who also played Basta in Inkheart.
Derek first appears when he is mentioned during an argument between Max Branning and Carol after Max discovers Carol's relationship with Connor Stanley. Derek then finds out that Phil Mitchell has had Jack's car crushed, he confronts Phil, saying that he has made an enemy of him as well. After the local B&B is destroyed in an explosion, Derek convinces his nephew Liam Butcher to retrieve some valuable copper pipes from the building, leaving his great-grandmother, Pat, infuriated. Shortly after, Derek receives a visit from his probation officer and it is clear that Pat is responsible. Furious, Derek visits her and angrily threatens her, resulting in her collapsing on the kitchen floor shortly after. Pat is then diagnosed with incurable cancer, and when Derek visits her, he teases her about dying, causing a row with Tanya, who suffers a panic attack.
When Phil is arrested for murder and his son Ben is kicked out of his home, Derek befriends Ben in order to steal his keys to Phil's garage. There, Derek is then led to believe that Roxy is missing, and Jack is furious at Derek, and especially when he discovers Chrissy does not exist.
Phil resoundingly wins against Derek, though Derek arranges with Alfie and Billy Mitchell to steal a large amount of alcohol. However he is unknowingly scammed by Alfie and Billy, and suspects Phil of conning him. Derek realises that Roxy has fallen in love with Alfie, so deliberately sends Alfie off on a job and makes it look to Roxy that he killed Alfie. When Alfie returns safe, Roxy tries to punch Derek for the humiliation he caused her but is restrained by Alfie.
She introduces herself as Kirsty Branning, Max's wife, whom he married while staying with Derek in 2011. It is revealed that Derek never handed Kirsty Max's divorce papers or the money that Max was giving to her, but allowed Max to think they were divorced, and did not tell Max about Kirsty's pregnancy, instead telling Kirsty that Max wanted the child aborted, which she did. A massive argument ensues and Derek shouts at Max and Jack, saying he has never liked Max and he was the person who locked him in a coffin as a child (Max had believed it was Jim). Derek is forced out of the house by Max, Jack and Joey, while Kat watches on. He then suffers a fatal heart attack on the street and dies.