Jacqueline Jossa and 'EastEnders' stars pay tribute to Max Branning after Jake Wood's final scenes

·2-min read
Jake Wood and Jacqueline Jossa as Max and Lauren Branning in 'EastEnders'. (Credit: BBC)
Jake Wood and Jacqueline Jossa as Max and Lauren Branning in 'EastEnders'. (Credit: BBC)

Jacqueline Jossa led the tributes from EastEnders stars to actor Jake Wood, who bowed out of the soap on Friday night after playing Max Branning for 15 years.

Jossa portrayed Max's daughter Lauren Branning from 2010 until 2018, and said in an Instagram post that Wood is "the only other guy I call dad".

Read more: Jossa frustrated by "plus-size" label

Wood filmed his final scenes as Max Branning in December 2020, with Max leaving Walford for good after dropping granddaughter Abi off with his former partner Rainie.

Jossa shared a series of pictures of herself with Wood on Instagram and referred to her co-star as a "legend".

She added: "Thank you for everything. I learnt all I know from you and had the best time playing your daughter. Goodbye for now Max.

"I cannot wait to see what is in store for you next, and hope one day we will work together again."

Wood responded to the post, calling himself Jossa's "fake dad" and saying he is "proud of the young woman you have become".

The 48-year-old star thanked followers for their kind words about his work in the wake of the emotional episode, with many fans saying they were left in tears by Max's goodbye.

Read more: Jake Wood explains how EastEnders shoots in social distancing era

Shona McGarty, who plays Whitney Dean in the soap, also shared a tribute to Wood, writing that he will be "truly missed" by the EastEnders cast.

Story editor Kyri Zindilis, meanwhile, shared a memory of Max dressing as Father Christmas for a festive episode, dubbing him "best Santa Claus that Walford has ever seen".

Max Branning has consistently been one of the main characters of EastEnders since he first arrived in Albert Square back in 2006.

One of his first major storylines saw him have an affair with Stacey Slater, who was dating his son, Bradley, at the time.

Read more: Can you name these UK soaps from just three characters?

In his lengthy tenure on the soap, Max has also been buried alive, hit by a car and imprisoned after he was wrongly implicated in the murder of Lucy Beale.

Wood has won numerous awards for his portrayal of Max, including sharing the Best Storyline prize at the 2008 British Soap Awards for the storyline surrounding his affair with Stacey.

Watch: Max Branning says goodbye to EastEnders