Jake Wood has bowed out of EastEnders after more than 15 years on the soap.
His character Max Branning departed Walford after realising he could not put aside his feelings for Linda Carter (Kellie Bright), who had returned to her husband Mick’s (Danny Dyer) side after their affair.
Determined to win Linda’s affections, he tried to blackmail Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden) to sign over The Queen Vic pub to Mick.
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) February 19, 2021
He hoped the gesture would prove his love to Linda, but the stunt backfired and Mick confronted him at the pub and warned him to stay away from his wife.
“If I see you about again you are a dead man,” he said.
Linda later confronted Max and urged him to leave Walford for good.
But Max, in denial, professed his love for her and told her: “You are clinging onto something that is not working.”
Their argument culminated with her telling him: “If you want to do something for me then let me wake up tomorrow in a place where Max Branning don’t.”
Max ultimately agreed to depart Walford but decided to leave his granddaughter Abi in the care of Rainie Highway (Tanya Franks).
Wood debuted as Max on EastEnders in June 2006 but also briefly played Jackson, a young homeless man, 16 years previously.
Show bosses previously confirmed that Wood’s contract would not be renewed, meaning Max would leave Walford in 2021.
They added that he would leave in a dramatic storyline but would not be killed off.