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Maxed out: ‘Exciting’ storyline on way as Jake Wood leaves EastEnders

Jake a break: Wood may be back PICTURES: BBC

EASTENDERS star Jake Wood is leaving the soap after 15 years… and BBC chiefs are planning ‘a big storyline’ for his exit.

The 48-year-old actor, who plays villain Max Branning, will go at the end of this year, but the door is being left open for his return.

‘I’ve had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends,’ Jake said yesterday.

Watch this Stace: Max with daughter-in-law

‘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.’

One of Max’s most explosive storylines came at Christmas 2007, when his wife Tanya (Jo Joyner) found out about his scandalous affair with their daughter-in-law Stacey (Lacey Turner).

Joyned up: With Tanya (Jo Joyner)

EastEnders’ executive producer Jon 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.’

And an insider told The Sun Online: ‘Bosses are staying tight-lipped about what they have planned for Max. But considering he has played a major part in the show for 15 years they are clearly planning something big.’