EastEnders’ Jake Wood to appear in St Albans pantomime
PUBLISHED: 11:15 28 May 2015 | UPDATED: 12:53 28 May 2015
EastEnders star Jake Wood is to appear in this year’s St Albans pantomime – while he takes a year out from Albert Square.
Jake, who has played bed-hopping lothario Max Branning in the BBC One soap for nearly a decade, will take on the role of Captain Hook in the Alban Arena panto Peter Pan.
Today (Thursday) the Tewin-based actor confirmed he will be leaving Walford for a while.
Taking to Twitter, Jake – @mrjakedwood – tweeted: “I shall be taking an extended break from Eastenders from after the summer. Thanks for all your tweets x”
Over the summer EastEnders viewers will see the character of Max Branning pushed to his limits when he finds himself in a situation that even he can’t squirm out of.
In typical Max fashion there will be lots of drama before he goes – but viewers need not worry as Jake has already re-signed his contract and will be back next year.
TV baddie Jake joined EastEnders nine years ago when he arrived with his onscreen family.
He has been involved in some of EastEnders’ biggest moments, most notably when Max had an affair with Stacey, his daughter-in-law.
Dominic Treadwell-Collins, the show’s executive producer, said “When I returned to EastEnders both Jake and I agreed that Max has been through so much over the past nine years that we would give both him and Jake a break when the opportunity arose.
“That opportunity has come and it is the perfect time to send Max Branning out with a bang that will send ripples through the Square for the rest of the year until Jake returns.”
Talking of his break, Jake said: “I have been at EastEnders for nine years and I feel the time is right to give Max a break.
“But it won’t be for too long as I shall be back next year to see Max face another chapter of drama.”
The snake-hipped EastEnders favourite took to the ballroom last year, appearing in Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional Janette Manrara.
They reached the semi-final of the BBC One dancing competition.
Jake is now set to tread the boards in Peter Pan alongside St Albans funnyman Bob Golding and Katrina Bryan, from CBeebies’ Nina and the Neurons.
In a departure from the normal cast list, St Albans’ version of Peter Pan will feature a Mrs Smee, played by Bob Golding.
One of the county’s biggest pantos will once again be written by Paul Hendy and brought to the stage by Evolution, the same creative team behind last year’s smash hit, Jack and the Beanstalk.
A spokesman for the venue said: “Promising lots of audience participation and spectacular special effects, it is already on track to be St Albans’ biggest and most spectacular pantomime ever.”
The road from Walford to The Alban Arena is becoming a familiar one for EastEnders cast members.
EastEnders star Steve McFadden – aka Phil Mitchell – appeared in last year’s St Albans panto, Jack and the Beanstalk.
And Larry Lamb was Captain Hook in the St Albans venue’s 2010 production of Peter Pan.
The Alban Arena 2015 panto opens on Friday, December 4 and runs until Sunday, January 3, 2016.
* To buy tickets, call the box office on 01727 844488 or visit the Alban Arena website.
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