A hard-hitting EastEnders storyline will see Ronnie Mitchell steal Kat Moon's baby after her own child dies, it has been announced.
The new plotline begins later this year when Ronnie and Kat - played by Samantha Womack and Jessie Wallace - both give birth and begin happily adjusting to family life with their respective partners Jack and Alfie.
However, in a tragic turn of events on New Year's Eve, Ronnie will face the devastation of losing her new baby to cot death before making a desperate decision that looks likely to change life in Albert Square forever.
After rushing to the Queen Vic to seek help with her lifeless child still in her arms, Ronnie hears Kat's baby crying upstairs and secretly swaps the pair in a powerful scene.
As Ronnie leaves The Vic and returns home with Kat's child, the New Year celebrations continue inside the pub and the rest of the Square's residents have no idea of what has happened.
Speaking of the new storyline, EastEnders' executive producer Bryan Kirkwood commented: "This story built on the rich history both characters have built up over the years and the story team have worked hard to make this convincing and powerful.
"Although EastEnders is a fictional drama we have, of course, taken great care to thoroughly research this storyline, which will reflect a issue close to the hearts of some of our audience. We're fortunate to have two wonderful actresses, Jessie Wallace and Samantha Womack, who understand the need to portray such an emotive subject sensitively."
He added: "Viewers will know that Ronnie has had a difficult past, losing both her daughter and father in the last couple of years. When she loses the one thing she's always wanted, she acts on impulse in a moment of sheer grief and desperation."
EastEnders' decision to tackle the issue of cot death has been praised by the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID).
FSID director Joyce Epstein explained: "We are very grateful to EastEnders for their accurate depiction of the devastating effect that the sudden death of an infant can have on a family. We hope that this story will help raise the public's awareness of cot death, which claims 300 babies' lives each year." Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad