Actor Jake Wood says he's excited to see what's around the corner", but has also thanked his EastEnders producers for leaving the door open for his character Max Branning's potential return to Albert Square.
It was announced last week that Wood, 48, would be leaving EastEnders.
In an Instagram post today, he reflected on Max's all-action history on the BBC One soap.
Wood wrote: "After 15 years I will be leaving Eastenders at the end of this year. I have loved playing Max Branning who amongst other things in that time has had 4 marriages, 10 affairs, 4 children (2 dying from falling from the roof of The Queen Vic), been buried alive, watched unwanted DVDs at Xmas and perhaps most traumatising of all...shared a hot tub with Ian Beale. I have made some truly great friends whilst on the show and I’ll miss everyone there. I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what new horizons are around the corner. Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages this week, I appreciate the love and support"
Adam Woodyatt, who plays Ian Beale in EastEnders, was quick to respond: "Surely the highlight of your career was sharing that “not so” hot tub with me."
EastEnders' executive producer Jon Sen promised Wood would be leaving the soap in traditional style – with a bang.
Sen 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.”
Max Branning arrived in EastEnders in June 2006, searching for his son, Bradley (Charlie Clements). The tough businessman instead found his estranged father, Jim (John Bardon), and in the ensuing argument pinned his pa up against the wall, only for Bradley to walk in on the fracas.
He entered with a fight and it's unlikely he'll be leaving quietly.