More hints about what to expect when EastEnders returns this autumn have been dropped by Jake Wood, with a tantalising teaser about a shocking new storyline for Max Branning that will stun viewers. And you thought you’d seen it all with naughty Max.
Speaking ahead of his appearance on EastEnders: Secrets From the Square airing on Monday 3rd August, alongside on-screen sibling Scott Maslen (Jack Branning), Wood revealed he has been very busy since the BBC soap resumed filming in June, and his character has been thrown straight into an explosive plot.
“Max has got himself embroiled in a very unpleasant situation when we come back,” says the actor, who joined EastEnders in 2006. “It’s something completely different for him, it’s very surprising and unexpected.
“It has been really busy for me but it’s great stuff, they’re good scripts and true to form. I would say it’s definitely Max Branning doing what Max Branning does! The viewers will be pleased to see him back and getting up to his old shenanigans…”
When EastEnders began a transmission break in June enforced by the UK pandemic lockdown that halted production, Max’s doomed romance with Ruby Allen (Louisa Lytton) was dead in the water, ex-wife Rainie Branning (Tanya Franks) was playing dirty to divorce him and dissolve their marriage of convenience so she could tie the knot with Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ), and he’d even been driven to ask old enemy Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) for financial help.
The soap returns in September and will skip forward in time over the summer to rejoin the Albert Square locals as they emerge from lockdown.
We know Ruby has definitely moved on with Martin Fowler (James Bye) by that point, and his estranged wife Stacey Fowler is also expected to be back as actress Lacey Turner returns from her maternity leave.
Could Max and Stacey’s explosive spark be reignited now she and Martin are officially history? Their romance has been a source of drama since they first hooked up in 2006, when teenager Stace cheated on boyfriend Bradley Branning with his dad.
The year-long affair culminated in one of EastEnders’ most famous Christmas episodes when it was exposed in 2007, with the episode being repeated on Tuesday 4th August after Wood’s Secrets From the Square special.
“People took to those characters and that situation,” reflects Wood. “Even watching it now, the way the affair was revealed with a DVD, it was very uncomfortable. You really feel like you’re in the room suffering the embarrassment and awkwardness.
“EastEnders’ Christmas episodes are part of British life, to be part of it is a privilege and I look back on those episodes with great fondness.”