Jake Wood, a former EastEnders star, portrayed Max Branning for 15 years. During that time, he was at the center of several dramatic and explosive stories, which he summarized upon leaving the show in 2020.
According to his Instagram post, “I have loved playing Max Branning who among 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 traumatizing of all…shared a hot tub with Ian Beale.”
The phrase “unwanted DVD” refers to one of Max’s most famous plots, in which his affair with Stacey (Lacey Turner) was made public after Max’s daughter Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald) edited a video of Stacey and Max’s son Bradley’s wedding to include footage of Max and Stacey kissing (Charlie Clements).
Despite all of this, Jake admits that while he received a lot of fan mail, another cast member consistently topped the list in terms of the volume of fan mail received.
Jake admitted to The Sun, “When I started, I didn’t realize Wellard got sacks full of fan mail.” Let’s not forget that Wellard was Robbie Jackson’s (Dean Gaffney) dog. They used to reply with photos of him bearing a paw print. It was really cute, Jake says.
According to him, this only serves to demonstrate how well-liked the program is, noting that “If Wellard is getting sack loads of mail it says something.” Everyone on that show will receive a lot of interest. It’s a beautiful thing.
Jake is adamant that despite shifting viewing preferences, soap operas will always have a place on TV.
He explains, “They’re a British tradition.” I’m not surprised that viewing preferences have changed. They tell universal tales, so I believe viewers will always tune in. These days, people access information differently; I was informed a while back that EastEnders is one of the most downloaded programs.
Jake didn’t have any immediate plans to bring Max back to EastEnders, but the door was left open for him to do so.
Since I’ve been acting since I was ten, all I want to do now is stuff that makes me excited, he claims.
“I don’t feel like I need to prove anything, and I don’t want to work just for the sake of working.” Who knows if my next move will be a Netflix project or a major motion picture.