Cast Changes News

EastEnders star Jake Wood teases his alter-ego Max’s dramatic return

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2016 - Programme Name: EastEnders - TX: n/a - Episode: EastEnders - Christmas 2016 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, SATURDAY 3RD DECEMBER, 2016* Max Branning (JAKE WOOD) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Nicky Johnston
© BBC / Nicky Johnston

Returning EastEnders star Jake Wood, who was last seen in Walford in June, is set to make a dramatic comeback to the show this festive season.

His character Max was wrongly imprisoned for the murder of Lucy Beale in October of last year but, following Bobby Beale’s confession in May, he was released. Vowing to never speak to Lauren again, he declared she was dead to him and left in a black cab.

But now, six months after his most recent appearance, Max is back. And with a vengeance.

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2016 - Programme Name: EastEnders - October-December 2016 - TX: 26/12/2016 - Episode: EastEnders October - December  2016 - 5411 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, SATURDAY 3rd DECEMBER, 2016* Max waits outside The Vic. Max Branning (JAKE WOOD) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Jack Barnes
© BBC / Jack Barnes

Speaking on his explosive return, Wood said: “Max has got out of prison and he disappeared for a bit and then he returns and he is much changed. I think prison has had a big effect on him, so he is very different from when we last saw him. I think the reaction he gets will be interesting.”

“He’s a changed character. We’ll find out as we go along. For me, coming back has been really interesting to see the changes in Max. I don’t think he’s exactly the same character as when he left. I think the viewers will be surprised and excited about the changes.”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2016 - Programme Name: EastEnders - TX: n/a - Episode: EastEnders - Max Branning (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, SATURDAY 3RD DECEMBER, 2016* Max Branning (JAKE WOOD) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Nicky Johnston
© BBC / Nicky Johnston

On whether or not his womanising character has changed his ways he said: “Well Max has changed, so will he go back to his old ways? Let’s wait and see. He might go back to his old ways. I think the audience at certain points will know more than the other characters so that’s an interesting point.”

“I think some will be happier to see him than others. I hope his daughters will be pleased to see him, and hopefully Jack too. I’m not sure how welcome Max will be back in the Square at first. Especially by the Beales!”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 03/12/2016 - Programme Name: EastEnders - TX: n/a - Episode: EastEnders - Christmas 2016 (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: *STRICTLY NOT FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 00:01HRS, SATURDAY 3RD DECEMBER, 2016* Abi Branning (LORNA FITZGERALD), Max Branning (JAKE WOOD), Lauren Branning (JACQUELINE JOSSA) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Nicky Johnston
© BBC / Nicky Johnston

Finally, speaking about the state of his relationship with his daughters Lauren and Abi, the actor said: “[Their relationship is] a little bit fractured! Things are better between Lauren and Max than Abi and Max. I think Lauren will be more pleased to see him. Hopefully Abi will come around. Max is a changed character coming back so hopefully the girls will see that.”

EastEnders airs Max’s return this December on BBC One.

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Tommy Giffen