EastEnders icon unrecognisable in forgotten Only Fools and Horses role

EastEnders icon Jake Wood has stunned fans after they spotted him in an old episode of Only Fools and Horses.

The actor, 51, shot to fame playing Max Branning on the BBC soap – with Jake making his debut back in 2006. For 15 years, on and off, Jake was a regular in the famous square.

And it’s fair to say Max was involved in several big storylines. From his endless marriages and extramarital affairs to being framed for attempted murder, his time in Walford wasn’t short of drama.

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But in 2021, Jake left the soap for good – leaving viewers heartbroken. However, fans have recently unearthed Jake’s forgotten role in a BBC classic sitcom – and plenty were left gobsmacked.

With a career spanning nearly four decades, in 1989, Jake starred in Only Fools and Horses where he played Rodney Trotter’s assistant. The soap star was just 17 years old in the episode.

Jake looked totally different and very young – with a full head of red hair. The episode, titled Jolly Boys’ Outing, was a Christmas special, and followed the family on a coach trip to Margate. But distaste strikes when their coach explodes.

Fans reacted to Jake’s appearance on Only Fools and Horses over on X, formerly known as Twitter. One person said: “Baffled. Anyone else know Max Branning was in only fools and horses?”

Someone else chimed in and penned: “As if Max Branning was in Only Fools and Horses! Haha!” A third quipped: “Major LOL at a young Max Branning in Only Fools and Horses.”

Echoing their thoughts, a fourth proclaimed: “Watching an episode of Only Fools and Horses and to my surprise I saw a rare sight – a young Jake Wood ( aka Max Branning on EastEnders) with hair.”

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Jake’s best known role as Max, hasn't been seen on EastEnders since February 2021 when his failed romance Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) left him feeling he had nothing left in Albert Square. He fled to Croatia with his granddaughter Abi Branning by his side.

However, it has since been mentioned that Max had been spending time with his daughter Lauren Branning (Jacqueline Jossa) in New Zealand. But the Walford womaniser ended up having an affair with her friend so left.

It has also been confirmed that actress Jacqueline Jossa is returning to EastEnders as Lauren. And the announcement has left fans wondering if it means Max will also be making a comeback.

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