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EastEnders confirm Jake Wood's shock exit after 15 years

The actor plays Walford lothario Max Branning

Sharnaz Shahid

Sad news for EastEnders fans as show bosses have confirmed Jake Wood is leaving the BBC soap after 15 years.

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The actor, who starred as businessman Max Branning, will depart Albert Square at the end of the year. "I've had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends," the 48-year-old said in a statement.

"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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Executive producer Jon Sen added: "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."

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The actor has played Max on the BBC soap since 2006. He has been involved in some of the biggest storylines, including the time his character famously had an affair with his daughter-in-law Stacey, before getting involved with a police officer investigating the murder of Lucy Beale.

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Jake has played Max Branning on the BBc soap since 2006

Over the years, Max been known for his womanising ways, and secret liaisons with now-dead Lucy, former daughter-in-law Stacey, and most recently her best friend Ruby Allen.

Strictly star Jake has previously taken breaks away from the soap, notably for a year in 2015 when his character was sent down for the murder of Lucy. The star also took a two-month hiatus at the beginning of 2018.

Following the devastating death of his daughter Abi Branning, Max left Walford shortly after her funeral, but returned in April that year, where he has been causing more mischief ever since.

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