Max Branning is set to return to Albert Square this Christmas, and actor Jake Wood thinks viewers might be surprised...

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EastEnders fans are in for a treat this Christmas as Max Branning returns to Walford.

And after an absence of a year, actor Jake Wood thinks viewers may be surprised by the new-look Max.

Wood, who has played the part since 2006,  told the Metro: “Well, Max has got out of prison and he disappeared for a bit and then he returns and he is much changed. I think prison has had a big effect on him, so yeah, he is very different from when we last saw him. I think the reaction he gets will be interesting.

“I think some will be happier to see him than others. I hope his daughters will be pleased to see him, and hopefully Jack too. Things are better between Lauren and Max than Abi and Max. I think Lauren will be more pleased to see him. Hopefully Abi will come around. Max is a changed character coming back so hopefully the girls will see that. I’m not sure how welcome Max will be back in the Square at first. Especially by the Beales!”

He also commented on how the show’s new producer Sean O’Connor had made the soap more “character-based”.

“There are always slight differences when there is a change of boss. I think it is really exciting that we’ve got Sean.

“I really like him and I like his ideas for the future. I think the show is changing. I saw a couple of episodes last week and I think the whole feel of it is changing.

“It seems to be more character-based, which as an actor I think it is at its best when it is character-based.”

Eastenders continues next week on BBC1.