EastEnders star Jake Wood is leaving the show for a year.

Wood, who plays Max Branning in the BBC soap, will be returning next year.

He 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 show's executive producer, Dominic Treadwell-Collins, 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."

One of Wood's most memorable storylines involved Max's affair with his daughter-in-law, Stacey, played by Lacey Turner.

EastEnders has not revealed how Wood's character will leave the show for his break.