EastEnders star Jake Wood is leaving Max Branning role in an ‘explosive exit’

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EastEnders star Jake Wood is leaving the soap after 15 years of playing max Branning.

The 48 year old actor will leave the show this year in an “explosive storyline”, but the door will be left open for him to return someday.

Jake said: “I’ve had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends.

“I’ll of course miss everyone there but I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds.”

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BBC’s executive producer said: “Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long.

“We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out.”

An insider also revealed to OK! online that bosses made the decision to create a “big storyline” for the soap star to leave the show as his contract is set to come to an end.

The source said: “Sometimes in soap land big characters have to leave. Bosses are staying tight lipped about what they have planned for Max but considering he has played a major part in the show for over fifteen years they are clearly planning something big and he will not be departing Walford quietly. Everyone will be sad to see Jake go as he is not only a great person to have on set but he’s also a fantastic actor.”

Jake, who recently revealed he once had a different role on the BBC soap, has been playing for fifteen years on Albert Square.

During his time on the square, he has been involved in a number of huge storylines including his infamous affair with his son Bradley's wife, Stacey Slater, and being framed for the murder of Lucy Beale.

Jake joined the soap in 2006 and took a short break from the soap when his character, Max, was imprisoned for Lucy's murder.

After his return to Albert Square, Max plotted revenge on Ian Beale, who had let him go to prison, despite him discovering his son Bobby had killed Lucy.

Since then, Max has made amends with Ian and has since gone into business with him as he owns half of restaurant Walford East.

The latest storyline has seen Max hand his half of the restaurant to Ian, to stop his wife Rainie from getting his money in their divorce.

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After lockdown, Max announces to Ian that his divorce has finalised and he will need his money back – but it appears Ian spent Max's cash on buying the Queen Vic to win over Sharon's affections.

Ian Beale actor Adam Woodyatt, who recently revealed his weight loss after his marriage split, recently suggested Ian could get into financial hardship.

Adam told The Sun Online: “He's got a soft spot for Sharon, and he feels guilty.

“He feels guilty, he's done it out of guilt and there is probably going to be financial ramifications with lockdown, any money Ian thought he had to buy the Vic, he's not going to have much of going forward.

“I have had that hinted at, there's so much uncertainty, we don't know."

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