Jake Dylan Wood (born 12 July 1972)[2] is an English actor and podcaster, known for his role as Max Branning in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He has also made guest appearances in series including Only Fools and Horses and Red Dwarf. In 2014, Wood competed on BBC's Strictly Come Dancing alongside professional dancer Janette Manrara. In the United States, he is known as the voice of the GEICO gecko. In 2018, he began co-hosting Pound for Pound, a boxing podcast with Spencer Oliver.

Jake Wood
Wood at the British Podcast Awards in 2018
Jake Dylan Wood

(1972-07-12) 12 July 1972 (age 52)
Westminster, London, England
Alma materAnna Scher Drama School
Years active1984–present
Known forEastEnders
2:22 A Ghost Story
Alison Wood
(m. 2001)

Early life


Wood was born in Westminster, London to an English father and a French mother.[2] He attended City of London Academy Highbury Grove and trained as an actor at the Anna Scher Drama School in Islington, North London.[1]



His first acting role was in the 1984 television series The Gentle Touch.[3] He has since appeared in several television series including May to December, Minder, Only Fools and Horses, Nightingales, Murder in Mind, Press Gang, London's Burning, Casualty, In Deep, Sean's Show, Inspector Morse Driven to Distraction 1989, One Foot in the Grave, Red Dwarf, A Touch of Frost, The Bill, Le Café des Rêves, Sea of Souls, Doc Martin and The Thin Blue Line. He has appeared in the films Flesh and Blood (1985) with Rutger Hauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Crimetime (1996) with Stephen Baldwin, Tube Tales (1999), The Aryan Couple (2004) and The Illusionist (2006) opposite Edward Norton. Wood starred in the 1989 Yellow pages TV Advert, entitled "Party Party" and, until 2015, was the voice of the GEICO gecko advertisements on American television.[4] Wood also featured alongside Cobent CTO and ex-Metal Hammer journalist Tony Dillon as part of a team presenting Click, a computer games magazine on video in the early 1990s. In 1989, Wood appeared in Only Fools and Horses as an assistant for Rodney Trotter (Nicholas Lyndhurst), in the episode The Jolly Boys' Outing. In the 8th series of Red Dwarf he played Kill Crazy, a prison inmate. Wood also played the eldest son, Dougie, in sitcom family The Wilsons.[5]

In March 1990, Wood portrayed the role of Jackson in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a minor character who met Diane Butcher (Sophie Lawrence) while she was sleeping rough on the streets of London.[6] Wood was later cast to play the regular character Max Branning from June 2006 to February 2021.[7] In 2014, Wood took part in the 12th series of Strictly Come Dancing.[8] He was partnered with Janette Manrara, reaching the semi-final. In May 2015, Wood announced that he would be taking a year-long break from EastEnders. Wood said "I have been at EastEnders for nine years and I feel the time is right to give Max a break. It won't be for too long as I shall be back next year to see Max face another chapter of drama."[9]

In January 2018, Wood started hosting a boxing podcast, Pound for Pound, with Spencer Oliver.[10] In September 2020, it was announced that Wood would be departing from the cast of EastEnders after fifteen years in the role, with Max being written out as part of an "explosive exit". His final appearance aired on 19 February 2021.[11]

Personal life


Wood is a fan of Arsenal[12] and took part in the 2007 Great North Run.[13] He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, Alison, whom he married in 2001, and their two children.[1]

In 2019, he ran the London Marathon with some of his EastEnders co-stars for a Dementia campaign in honour of Barbara Windsor.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "BBC One – Strictly Come Dancing, Series 12 – Jake Wood". BBC. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Jake Wood on TV.com". TV.com. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  3. ^ "EastEnders star Jake Wood shares picture from first TV role in tribute to Jill Gascoine". Entertainment Daily. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  4. ^ Merriman, Rebecca (16 November 2015). "EastEnders' Jake Wood goes on Twitter rant after being AXED after ten years in role". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 14 August 2018.
  5. ^ "The Wilsons Cast and Crew on TV.com". TV.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  6. ^ "Remember when Max Branning star Jake Wood was in EastEnders in the '90s?". Metro. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  7. ^ Wilkes, Neil (19 January 2006). "Mitchell kids to return to Walford". Digital Spy. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  8. ^ Daly, Emma (24 August 2014). "Soap stars Jake Wood and Sunetra Sarker sign up for Strictly Come Dancing 2014". Radio Times. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Jake Wood to take EastEnders 'break'". BBC. 28 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  10. ^ "EastEnders star Jake Wood halts podcast to rescue neighbour trapped in shed: 'His heart was pounding'". Metro. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  11. ^ Lindsay, Duncan (16 September 2020). "EastEnders spoilers: Jake Wood leaves after 15 years as Max Branning makes explosive exit". Metro. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  12. ^ "Football – Lawro's Premier League predictions". BBC. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  13. ^ "BBC – Tyne – Great North Run – GNR 2007: At the finish". BBC. Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  14. ^ "EastEnders stars to run marathon for Dame Barbara Windsor". BBC News. 8 January 2019. Archived from the original on 8 January 2019. Retrieved 8 January 2019.