When did Jake Wood join EastEnders as Max Branning?

EASTENDERS actor Jake Wood is set to depart from Walford this week after announcing his departure in September 2020.

But when did the actor join EastEnders and will he ever return? Here's the lowdown…

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When did Jake Wood join EastEnders as Max Branning?

Jake joined the cast of the BBC serial drama in 2006 alongside actress Jo Joyner, who played Tanya Branning.

Jake was involved in a number of iconic storylines with some of the show’s biggest characters, including his affair with Stacey which reached boiling point on Christmas Day 2007 when he was exposed in front of the entire Branning family. 

In 2015, Jake was involved in another explosive storyline when he was falsely sent to prison for the murder of Lucy Beale, before returning to our screens in 2016.

Reminiscing about his favourite moments, Jake told The Sun and other media recently: “There’s so many moments over the years, all the stuff with Joy Joyner when the characters were getting established, all that stuff was great.

Jake added: “All the stuff with Bradley and Stacey, you look back now and it’s iconic stuff, especially that Christmas 2007, that Max and Stacey stuff was amazing to play out.

“If I look back over 15 years it has been a crazy roller-coaster ride with that character, you’re just never sure what he was going to get up to next.

“It’s hard to pick out any particular moment but there’s been so many.”

What else has Jake Wood starred in?

Jake bagged his first role on TV in 1984, starring in the series The Gentle Touch.

He later had small parts in the Only Fools and Horse special The Jolly Boys’ Outing, Inspector Morse, One Foot In The Grave, Press Gang and Casualty.

Jake also starred in the sitcom The Wilsons as the eldest son, Dougie, and has appeared in a number of films including Vera Drake, The Aryan Couple, Dad Savage and The Illusionist. 

Is Jake Wood returning to EastEnders?

Jake recently told The Sun and other media that he does not have any plans to return to EastEnders, but that he wouldn’t rule it out.

Revealing he was pleased he hadn't left the soap in a body bag, he said: “Never say never, I’m obviously very pleased they have kept the door open, but we’ll see what happens down the road.

“At the moment I have no plans to go back so we’ll see what happens, I’m excited about what’s next.”

The actor added: “It always takes a period of time coming away from a soap after that amount of time, sometimes I think it can go against you career-wise, I was aware of that when I joined the show.

"So, we’ll find out now what’s ahead, but I’m in no rush to rush into anything straight away so I’m happy to let the dust settle.”

He added: "I've slept with 15 women in 15 years. I've had four marriages. Ten affairs. Shared a hot tub with Ian Beale. Gone to prison.

"Been throttled by my brother. And been buried alive. It's time for Max to go."

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