Actor Jake Wood is to take 12 months away from EastEnders, but will be back on the BBC1 soap in 2016.
Speaking today, Wood – who plays philanderer Max Branning – said: “I have been at EastEnders for nine 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.”
Max first arrived in Albert Square in 2006 and his roving eye has got him into constant trouble, most notably when he had an affair with his son’s girlfriend Stacey. More recently, he had a fling with Lucy Beale only to become a prime suspect in a murder investigation when she was killed.
Hinting at what lies ahead for Max before Wood’s exit, executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins said: “When I returned to EastEnders, both Jake and I agreed that Max has been through so much over the past nine 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.”
It is believed that Max will depart over the summer when he finds himself embroiled in a tricky situation “that even he can’t squirm out of”.
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