Luke Browning is a fictional character of the British soap opera EastEnders.
He first appeared as a minor character in between 1987-1992 and went on to serve as the quaternary antagonist in 2017.
Luke first appears when his uncle Hugo gives his associate Max Branning a visiting order. Max complies and he visits Luke, whereupon it's revealed that the pair were cellmates during Max's false imprisonment for the murder of Lucy Beale - whose younger brother, Bobby was the true culprit; it transpires that Max is conspiring with Weyland & Co to subjugate Albert Square as part of his revenge campaign on his family and friends for causing his imprisonment. After discussing their plans to take over The Queen Victoria pub, Max and Luke wish each other the best of luck before seemingly parting ways. When he is released from prison, Max picks him up and takes him home, where he is reunited with two siblings; half-brother Josh Hemmings and their sister Fi. He later discusses plans with Hugo for the idea of studio flats, when his father James Willmott-Brown enters and tells the pair that he has an interesting idea for the premises; it thereupon transpires that Luke is the director of his father's company: Weyland & Co, which intends to subjugate Albert Square so that they could rebuild the community into luxurious flats and apartments. Luke carries out an unannounced inspection at The Queen Victoria and tells Shirley Carter about the damage. Luke meets Kathy's younger son, Ben Mitchell outside the cafe when Ben accidentally split coffee on Luke's suit. Luke and Ben never knew their identity to each other at first. Luke meets Ben again when Ben is having a drink with his foster brother, Jay Brown and their friend, Donna Yates at The Vic. Ben and Luke end up at The Arches and kiss. Luke, James and Hugo go through their development plans for Albert Square. Luke decides to meet Ben's father, Phil and stepmother Sharon. Luke soon learns that Ben's mother is Kathy Beale, the woman who James had terrorized upon raping her in 1988, upon meeting her in person. Ben publicly confronts Luke at work before dumping him, prompting Luke to confine in Hugo that Ben is Kathy's son.
Luke meets Ben to ask him for another chance. Luke tells Ben he has been released from prison after four years and Ben tells Luke he served twenty months in youth custody for manslaughter. Luke tells James that he and Ben are back together on his request and questions his father's interest in Ben and Kathy - apparently unaware of what his father had done to Kathy thirty years ago. Luke starts to doubt Fi's abilities when he grows suspicious about her partnership with Max, particularly when she promises to James that she'll obtain the sealed bids from Max's current girlfriend: Carmel Kazemi. At his father's request, Luke visits Jay to persuade him in selling the car lot; he offers £150,000, which Jay declines, but Luke gives him money. After finding out about Billy is having financial troubles, Jay accepts Luke's £200,000 offer. To prevent Phil from learning of his father's presence, Luke joins Ben at his sister Louise's birthday meal; however, Phil ends up learning of James' return from Ben's older brother: Ian Beale, whom Kathy had confined about earlier on. When Phil visits James to warn him in staying away from Kathy, he notices Luke in one of the pictures and realizes that he is James' son. Aware of Luke's relationship with his son, Phil attempts to warn him in staying away from Ben; however, Luke refuses and this subsequently causes a rift between Ben and Phil. When Kathy's attempt to meditate between them prompts Ben to disown his father for his interference, she explains that Phil was protecting him from James - whom she is forced to reveal had raped her back thirty years ago. Ben grows increasingly determined to track down James, despite his parents' reservations, and later confronts Luke about what his father had done to Kathy - but is surprised himself when Luke tells him that James wants to meet him.
Ben come face to face with James in his office and threatens him with a crowbar, but Luke stops Ben from hurting James. The next day, Luke worries that Ben will break up with him as Ben initially decides to end their relationship, due to their parents' history but changes his mind after a heart to heart with Kathy. By then, however, Luke's tendencies begin to appear when he warns Kathy to stay clear of his business with Ben - whom he threatens after being pranked over salt. They initially recoup when Luke apologies for his behavior, but he ends up confronting Ben again when the latter unknowingly finds business card in Luke's wallet that says "Project Dagmar" - which turns out to be James' intended business venture. Ben later confines this to his ex-girlfriend Abi - Max's youngest daughter - and her sister Lauren, who later questions Josh about "Project Dagmar". Josh, who is unaware about his father's plans for Albert Square, later confronts Luke about this; their argument gets out of control when Luke suddenly throttles Josh, before Fi intervenes to separate them. It soon becomes clear that while Fi and Josh appear reluctant with his father's plans for Albert Square, Luke is full-on supportive as helps stage the final preparations for the Queen Victoria. He later visits Ben and gives him an expensive car, which Ben orders Luke to remove. As their conversation becomes argumentative, Luke lashes out and assaults Ben before leaving him unconscious. Soon afterwards, he joins James in announcing their takeover at the Queen Vic and explaining that they own Grafton Hill - Weyland and Co's supposed subsidiary - before revealing their plans for Albert Square; Luke is the only sibling out of James' children to speak out in front of everyone, taunting several others - particularly Shirley's son Mick Carter, the landlord of the Queen Vic, and his family - as well as revealing Max's affiliation with Weyland & Co. Max attempts to celebrate his own success by proposing to Fi, which Luke declares to be an "icing on the cake". but is stunned when she remains thoroughly silent. James then reveals to Max that although grateful for his loyalty, he has been used and gives Luke a nod to present his cheque - which he then rips up and throws into the fire.
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