Max's roving eye (particularly for Stacey Slater) has landed him in trouble time and again, but he never learns. His smooth talking wore thin with wife Tanya – so much so that she buried him alive. She may run a beauty parlour, but that’s one extreme mud pack!
You can’t keep a good man six feet under though, and after a brief exile, Max waltzed back to Walford - only to find Tanya giving his sexy sibling Jack a bit of brotherly love. After another round of on again off again, Tanya saw the light, divorced naughty Max, and married his polar opposite – nice Greg.
Even though Max’s charming ways and classic one liners are a hit with the ladies, it’s Tanya, the muvver of his children that he wants to grow old with in Chez Branning. Will he ever manage to get her back? Max is the king of wriggling out of trouble, and always seems to get his own way – you can’t keep a good (ish) man down!
Max is the fifth child and second son of Jim and Reenie Branning (Joy Graham). With a large family living in a poor area of East London, Max had a difficult childhood, which was made worse by the arrival of his younger brother Jack (Scott Maslen). Max and Jack vied for the attentions of their father Jim, a drunk who frequently neglected his children. When Max was blamed for stealing and losing a medal that Jim's mother was given during World War II in honour of his late father for bravery, Jim severed all ties with his son and even once locked him in a coffin after a drinking binge. A messed up teenager, Max got involved with women in order to release the tension from his home life. As a result, Max got his girlfriend Rachel pregnant at seventeen, which led to them marrying and becoming parents to their son Bradley (Charlie Clements) in August 1987 at just eighteen.
Tired of his parents interfering, Max walked out in 1989 and lost touch with Jim and Reenie, but kept in touch with his siblings, in particular Carol (Lindsey Coulson). However, Max struggled with the pressure of being a father too young and began an affair with Tanya Cross, who was a messed up teenager herself, dabbling in drugs and alcohol. After discovering that Tanya was pregnant in 1993, Max divorced Rachel and lost all contact with Bradley before marrying Tanya on 6 August 1994 and becoming a father to their children Lauren (Madeline Duggan until June 2010, Jacqueline Jossa thereafter), in March 1994, and Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald), in June 1996.
Max arrives in Walford to confront his father after a seventeen-year absence, but Jim throws him out and Max meets Bradley, and decides to stay to rebuild their relationship. Tanya arrives to collect him, and a month later the family move to Albert Square. Max is caught having an affair with Gemma Clewes (Natalie J. Robb) by Tanya, but she gives their marriage one last try.. Max buys 10 Turpin Road for Tanya to open as a beauty parlour and begins meeting up with Bradley. Max thinks Bradley is too good for his girlfriend Stacey Slater (Lacey Turner), and when gets pregnant, he gives Bradley money for an abortion, telling him a baby will ruin his life. However, the abortion causes their relationship to end. To hurt Bradley, Stacey makes a move on Max and they have sex. They begin an affair, but Tanya tells Max she is pregnant by him. He tries to save his marriage despite promising Stacey that he will leave Tanya. Tanya confides in Stacey that she is pregnant, so Stacey gives Max an ultimatum: either he tell Tanya the truth or she will. Within thirty minutes, Max takes his family to Spain, and a few weeks later tells Bradley they are moving there permanently.
Max returns with his family as he wants to be with Stacey, only to find that she and Bradley have reconciled and are now engaged. Stacey rejects Max's advances. On the night of Bradley and Stacey's wedding, Max kisses Stacey, and although she rejects him again, Max's daughter Lauren captures the kiss on video. Soon after, Tanya and Max's son Oscar is born. Max and Stacey's affair is revealed at Christmas, after Lauren makes a copy of the recording and gives it to Bradley as a present. Both couples separate, and Max is forced to live with his brother Jack. Tanya files for divorce, but it is messy, with Max interfering with her romance with Sean Slater (Rob Kazinsky) and threatening to expose her as an unfit mother. Having had enough of Max, Tanya works with Sean, and drugs Max and puts him in a coffin before burying him alive in the woods. An attack of conscience prompts Tanya to dig Max up and after a brief scuffle in which he tries to strangle her, he decides to leave Walford as he can see how much devastation he had caused.
Max returns, and discovers Tanya is now in a relationship with Jack. Max tries to separate them by attempting to buy their house, seducing Jack's ex-girlfriend Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Janus), and planning to frame Jack for a crime he did not commit by acquiring a gun with his fingerprints on. Jack abducts Max and beats him up, after which, Max and Tanya kiss. Later that evening he is the victim of a deliberate hit-and-run, which Tanya confesses to and is arrested. However, Lauren later admits that she was driving the car and turns herself in to the police. Tanya is released and Lauren is taken into care. Lauren is found not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of grievous bodily harm, and she decides to return home. Max and Tanya start a secret relationship, and Tanya later allows Max to move back with his family. Max gets into debt and starts conning people with false insurance claims, including Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden), Heather Trott (Cheryl Fergison), Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Masood Ahmed (Nitin Ganatra). However his dodgy schemes are found out, and after failing to con his ex-wife Rachel out of money, the debt collectors arrive at the house and take his assets. Once the extent of Max's debts, lies and cons become clear, Tanya resolves to leave him. She gets in the car to go but Abi refuses, saying they need to stick together, so Tanya leaves with Lauren and Oscar. Sinking into depression after losing his family, Max then sends Abi to live with her mother, as he cannot look after her.
Max and Bradley decide to go into business together, and Roxy Mitchell (Rita Simons) rents the car lot to them. After Archie's murder on Christmas Day 2009, Max discovers that Bradley punched Archie because he raped and impregnated Stacey. When the police come for Bradley, Max helps him flee with Stacey, but the police chase Bradley to a rooftop where he stumbles and falls to his death. As Max and Stacey cry, she admits to him that she killed Archie. Falling into a deep depression, Max's sister Carol moves in to help out. Max then has a brief fling with Stacey's friend, Becca Swanson (Simone James). Stacey has gone missing, but Max follows Becca one day who leads him to Stacey. After an emotional confrontation, Max takes Stacey home, and the pair agree to tell no one about Archie's murder. Max meets Vanessa Gold (Zöe Lucker) after she buys a car from him. Max starts a casual relationship with Vanessa, but she guesses that Max still loves his ex-wife, and ends the affair. When Max discovers that he and Tanya are divorced, he storms in to her house and tells her he still loves her. However, Tanya says she has moved on, and reveals she and her new boyfriend Greg (Stefan Booth) are engaged, and will be married in a few months.
Max's employee, Darren Miller (Charlie G. Hawkins) is made homeless, and Max allows him to move in with himself, Carol and Abi (who has returned after living with Tanya). Max's attempts to recommence his affair with Vanessa are cut short when Abi and Carol discover Max with her. Vanessa also informs Max that their relationship will never be serious. Dwelling on this, Max uses the reappearance of Tanya's sister, Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) as a pretext to try to lure Tanya back to Walford. Rainie discovers this and blackmails Max into letting her stay at his house for longer. However, Max soon discovers that Rainie has bought drugs and throws her out. He also asks Carol to leave, saying that he can only cope with Abi and Darren living in his house. However, when Vanessa's husband Harry (Linal Haft) discovers the affair, he throws her out of their home and she moves in with Max temporarily. Max is upset when Vanessa takes Abi for a makeover, but Vanessa makes Max see that she is not a little girl anymore. Vanessa realises she and Max do not know much about each other, so they decide to ask questions. Max refuses to speak about Bradley. They later have sex on the settee but are interrupted by Dot Branning (June Brown) delivering Bradley's ashes. The next day Max returns the urn to Dot saying it is not his problem as he has already mourned Bradley. However, he later changes his mind and arranges to scatter the ashes until Stacey backs out, so he gives her the ashes to look after.
Vanessa ends her affair with Max in order to save her daughter Jodie's (Kylie Babbington) relationship with Darren, as Jodie plans to break up with Darren because she feels she is betraying her father every time she sees Vanessa with Max. When she returns the next day to collect some clothes, Max and Vanessa kiss but she stops it. Lauren turns up at Max's unannounced, and Tanya follows, revealing that Lauren was expelled from school in America for smoking drugs. The next day Max upsets Abi by joking to Darren that Abi must fancy her, not realising she really does, and Lauren by trying to get involved in her personal life. Tanya arrives to speak to Lauren, and realises Max is heartbroken about Vanessa. She later visits Vanessa and convinces her to take Max back, which she does. Max then comforts Carol after the death of her son Billie (Devon Anderson). After Billie's funeral, Lauren is angry at Max for not talking about Bradley, saying that Max is wrong for calling him a decent man, so Max tells her he did not kill Archie. Lauren thinks he must know who did so she visits Jack and tells him what Max said. Jack says Max is just protecting her and probably cannot accept that Bradley is a killer. At a party, Max angrily confronts Jay Brown (Jamie Borthwick) after he makes sexual remarks to Lauren. Max discovers that Harry has been putting nude pictures of Vanessa around Walford and vows revenge but Vanessa stops him, telling him that Harry is not Jodie's real father.
Harry starts taking revenge by throwing a brick through their window, destroying Vanessa's clothes and killing Jodie's cat. Max and Jack threaten Harry, thinking it is over, but Jack is grabbed by two men the night before his wedding to Ronnie, and Max finds him the next day in the boot of his car. Lauren concludes that Max killed Archie, because he has been displaying violent behaviour, but Max tells her that he made a promise to the killer to protect them. After Stacey tells Lauren that Max is looking after her, Lauren tells Max that she has worked out that Stacey is the killer. Lauren gets a confession from Stacey, which she records on her mobile phone. Lauren believes Stacey when she says Archie raped her, however, she later sees Max and Stacey together and tells Max to get rid of Stacey, who then goes missing, but she soon returns. Lauren hands the confession to Janine Malloy (Charlie Brooks) but regrets it and tells Max, who breaks into Janine's flat and wipes it. However, Janine publicly announces that Stacey killed Archie, so Max helps her to escape. Tanya accuses him of still loving Stacey. He drives her to the airport and says he does still love her but she says she only loves Bradley and then leaves the country.
Max is brutally beaten by Jack but then they reconcile the day after on Max's birthday.
When Vanessa realises that there will always be feelings between Tanya and Max, she considers ending her relationship with Max, but Max proposes marriage to her. Vanessa accepts and they announce their engagement to everyone. Tanya confronts Max and tells him that she knows that he only proposed to Vanessa to make her jealous. At their engagement party, Max flirts with Tanya, telling her that she still loves him, but doesn't want to admit it. Max and Tanya end up in Max and Vanessa's bedroom arguing before sleeping together.
Tanya tells Max this was a mistake. After being invited to a barbecue by Greg on Father's Day, Max tells Tanya that it's not over between them. Tanya tells him that she can't deal with the lies that come with being with Max and that it reminds her of when he had an affair with Stacey Slater. Max turns to leave, but Tanya persuades him to stay. When Greg later returns, Tanya lies that she has a headache so Greg will go out and get painkillers for her. Whilst Greg is out, she sleeps with Max again. Max rents a flat so he and Tanya can continue their affair in secret but Lauren discovers this so Tanya decides to end the affair. However, it continues. When the affair is revealed after he leaves Vanessa, Max goes to Tanya in hope he will be with her. Unknown to him, she has found out she may have cancer and tells him she does not love him. Kicked out by his children, Max decides to leave. Meanwhile, Tanya chases after Max but is too late, and watches as a tearful Max leaves Walford in his car.
Max's long-suffering ex-wife and mum to Abi, Lauren and Oscar.
Tanya booted Max out after she discovered he'd been carrying on with Stacey.
Max's affair with Gemma threatened his marriage.
Max's first wife and Bradley's mum.
(15 April 2011)Edit
Kisses Tanya in the hospital after she discovers that he survived the car crash.
(14 April 2011)Edit
Violently crashes into the back of a lorry on the way to Tanya's wedding.
(07 Feb 2011)Edit
Gives Darren his job back at the Car-lot after being persuaded by Vanessa.
(10 Jan 2011)Edit
Agrees to go into business with Jack at the car lot.
(25 Dec 2010)Edit
Kissing Stacey at the airport and revealing that he still loves her.
(25 Dec 2010)Edit
Being turned down by Stacey after suggesting that he should leave with her.
(09 Nov 2010)Edit
Exacting violent revenge on Harry with disasterous consequences...
(08 Nov 2010)Edit
Plotting his revenge with brother Jack on Harry after his attacks on Vanessa.
(26 Oct 2010)Edit
Revealing to a shocked Lauren that Bradley didn't murder Archie.
(12 Oct 2010)Edit
Blaming Carol for Billie's death after she holds Lauren accountable.
(27 Sept 2010)Edit
Revealing to a shocked Janine that Ryan is Lily's father.
(23 Sept 2010)Edit
Being left by Vanessa as she goes back to her husband for the sake of Jodie.
(23 June 2010)Edit
Getting his divorce papers through from Tanya and finding out that she is engaged to Greg.
(04 June 2010)Edit
Meeting Vanessa and starting a relationship.
(12 Apr 2010)Edit
Being told by Dot that Jack may have permanent brain damage after being shot by Kylie in R and R.
(09 Apr 2010)Edit
Announcing to a horrified Whitney, Ricky and Bianca that Billie has enlisted in the Army.
(19 Feb 2010)Edit
Watching Bradley fall to his death from the Vic roof in an attempt to escape the police.
(16 Feb 2010)Edit
Being stopped by Jack to confessing to Archie’s murder in order to save Bradley.
(08 Feb 2010)Edit
Listening in horror as Bradley reveals the truth about Stacey's pregnancy.
(25 Jan 2010)Edit
Making a deal with Roxy to take over the car lot. 'Branning and Son' is created.
(15 Jan 2010)Edit
Deciding to go into business with Bradley.
(12 Jan 2010)Edit
Finding out he's going to be a grandad as Stacey and Bradley are expecting.
(11 Dec 2009)Edit
Being left by Tanya after she finds out that he lied about his debts.
(17 Nov 2009)Edit
Persuading Heather to take out life insurance for George, and then keeping the money for himself.
(16 Nov 2009)Edit
Stealing Phil's insurance money that was supposed to cover the Queen Vic fire.
(21 Sep 2009)Edit
Participating in a wife swap with Jane, Ian and Tanya.
(13 Jul 2009)Edit
Making out with Tanya, but then struggling to keep it secret.
(25 Jun 2009)Edit
Moving into Dot's with Bradley.
(15 Jun 2009)Edit
Sharing a steamy encounter with Tanya.
(10 May 2009)Edit
Turning 40 and breaking into Tanya's house to try and celebrate with his family.
(24 Apr 2009)Edit
Goading Jack about Roxy and Ronnie - the pair fight in the Vic.
(02 Jan 2009)Edit
Being told by Lauren that it was her who tried to kill him.
(30 Oct 2008)Edit
Getting knocked down by Darren's car in a hit and run.
(08 Sep 2008)Edit
Moving into No. 27 with sister, Suzy.
(27 Jun 2008)Edit
Learning of Tanya's relationship with his brother, Jack.
(23 Jun 2008)Edit
Returning to the Square on Abi's birthday.
(21 Mar 2008)Edit
Being buried alive by Tanya and Sean. Leaving Walford after Tanya dug him up again.
(25 Dec 2007)Edit
Lauren's wedding video exposing his affair with Stacey.
(01 Nov 2007)Edit
Being Bradley's best man, in spite of having had an affair with the bride.
(24 May 2007)Edit
Whisking his family off to Spain in the middle of the night to stop Stacey revealing their affair to Tanya.
(10 May 2007)Edit
Tanya revealing she's expecting their third child.
(19 Feb 2007)Edit
Almost getting caught by Tanya while in a toilet cubicle with Stacey.
(16 Jan 2007)Edit
Realising that Abi had been in a car accident while he was with Stacey.
(22 Dec 2006)Edit
Kissing Stacey for the first time.
Tanya forgiving him for cheating on her.
(17 Aug 2006)Edit
Rachel's reappearance troubling his marriage.
(27 Jun 2006)Edit
Arriving in the Square and meeting Jim and Bradley for the first time in years.
About Jake WoodEdit
He's an Arsenal supporter and also enjoys boxing and running
Jake enjoys all kinds of music from classical to rockers The Brian Jonestown Massacre
His acting heroes include Stacy Keach and Jon Voight(Angelina Jolie's dad).
Star sign: Cancer
Eye colour: Blue-green
First appearance: 27.06.2006
He'll feature in Ed Norton's period romance film The Illusionist.
Jake appeared in detective drama Mayo alongside Alistair McGowan
In cult comedy Red Dwarf, Jake played psychotic prisoner Kill Crazy.