EastEnders star Jake Wood is leaving the BBC soap after 15 years as Lothario Max Branning - but the door has been left open for an Albert Square comeback.

Wood described his time in Walford as "15 wonderful years" among "truly great friends".

"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," he added in a statement.

"Jake is a truly wonderful actor and EastEnders have been extremely lucky to have him for so long," said Executive Producer Jon Sen.

"We have a big storyline for Max that starts in the coming weeks and we are all very excited to see that play out."

EastEnders airs on RTÉ One and BBC One on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

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Catch up on EastEnders on the RTÉ Player.