Max Branning was back in Albert Square and EastEnders fans are jumping for joy on social media


EastEnders fans welcomed back one of the BBC soap's stalwarts as Max Branning, played by Jake Wood, made a surprise appearance in Thursday's episode.

He didn't say a word, but words weren't needed.

Max has been languishing in prison after being found guilty of the murder of Lucy Beale (Hetti Bywater). The Albert Square businessman had been having a sexual relationship with Lucy, but the blood definitely wasn't on his hands.

Jake Wood as Max Branning in EastEnders (BBC)

The live 30th anniversary episode in February 2015 stunned viewers when Bobby (Eliot Carrington) was revealed as the murderer of his sister.

His stepmother Jane (Laurie Brett) had done her utmost to protect him after finding Lucy's body in the family home. She moved the body to the common in a desperate attempt to fool police into thinking her death was as the result of a fatal mugging.

But Max paid the price and it devastated his family. He disowned daughter Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) because she knew Bobby was the killer but she did not tell the truth, while sister Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald) had called the police on her dad and landed him in it.

EastEnders' Max Branning (BBC)

Both sisters have reason to feel anxious about how their dad will eventually receive them. They had asked Stacey Fowler (Lacey Turner) to give their dad a message, but Max returned the letter, dropping it through the door of their home before exiting in the taxi in Thursday's instalment.

Actor Jake, 43, has taken a hiatus to spend time with his family, but even this brief glimpse of him sent fans wild.

Yay! for Max Branning