Jake Wood reveals his first major role after leaving 'EastEnders'

Jake Wood from EastEnders arrives on the red carpet
Jake Wood has swapped the East End for the West End as he announces a new theatre role. (Image credit: Getty)

Former EastEnders star, Jake Wood, will be treading the boards at London’s Noel Coward Theatre this summer in a brand new supernatural thriller called 2:22 A Ghost Story

The new play, written by Danny Robins, the writer behind the much-loved BBC podcast The Battersea Poltergeist, and directed by Matthew Dunster, will see Jake on stage for 11 weeks starting on 3rd August. 

While most of us know and love Jake for his role as Max Branning in EastEnders, a character he played for 15 years, this new stage production will see him in a brand new light. 

The actor took to his social media today (Thursday 10 June) to share the news with his fans, telling everyone he was "buzzing to announce" the "incredible new play".

Jake Wood will be joined by singer Lily Allen 

Singer Lily Allen will be making her stage debut in the supernatural thriller, with Hadley Fraser and Julia Chan also joining Jake and Lily on stage. 

According to the play’s official website, the story of 2:22 A Ghost Story follows Jenny (Lily Allen) as she tries to convince her husband Sam (Hadley Fraser) that their new home is haunted. 

However, things take a spooky turn when the couple have friends Lauren and Ben (Julia Chan and Jake Wood) over for dinner one evening and the conversation turns to Jenny’s supernatural suspicions. 

Soon Jenny and Sam start arguing about their beliefs but something strange and frightening is lurking. In an effort to defuse the tension, the foursome agree to stay up that night together until 2:22 to see if there are any spooky goings on… but what will they unearth? 

EastEnders logo Queen Vic

Jake Wood left EastEnders earlier this year after playing Max Branning for 15 years.  (Image credit: BBC)

EastEnders fans will know that Jake bowed out of the soap in February this year after playing Max Branning since 2006. Max’s exit storyline saw him so heartbroken over his failed relationship with married Linda Carter that he eventually decided to start a new life away from Walford. 

Although the door has been left open for Jake to return to EastEnders in the future, the actor has made no secret of the fact he is looking forward to trying out new roles. 

You can buy tickets for 2:22 A Ghost Story here

EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and whattowatch.com writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.