Jake Wood will take a break from his role as EastEnders‘ Max Branning later this year.
The actor will be absent from the serial for one year, after an upcoming storyline development sees Max in a situation he can’t squirm out of. The beeb say there will be ‘lots of drama’ before he goes and that Wood has already signed a contract to resume his character.
“I have been at EastEnders for 9 years and I feel the time is right to give Max a break but it won’t be for too long as I shall be back next year to see Max face another chapter of drama.” – Jake Wood
Max has been at the heart of a number of high-profile storylines since his Walford debut in 2006, with the past 12 months alone seeing his affair with murder victim Lucy Beale uncovered and his short-lived relationship with Emma Summerhayes end in tragedy, when she was knocked over and killed in a car incident caused by Nick Cotton.
Earlier plots saw him conduct a year long on/off affair with his son Bradley’s love interest, Stacey Slater; feud with father Jim, brother Jack and wife Tanya; and cope with the death of Bradley and daughter Lauren’s alcoholism. The reveal of his affair with Stacey brought 13.9m viewers to the saga with the arc remaining his most notable to date.
“When I returned to EastEnders both Jake and I agreed that Max has been through so much over the past 9 years that we would give both him and Jake a break when the opportunity arose. That opportunity has come and it is the perfect time to send Max Branning out with a bang that will send ripples through the Square for the rest of the year until Jake returns.” – Executive Producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins
EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8.00pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One, with repeat screenings on BBC Three at 10.00pm. Viewers can also catch up online via BBC iPlayer.