Max Branning
Max Branning ( March 2017)
Portrayed by Jake Wood
Gender Male Male
First Appearance 27 June 2006
Duration 2006–
Address 27 Albert Square
Status Alive
Age 50
Date of Birth 10th May 1969
Occupation Business owner
Classification Present; regular
WifeRachel Branning (1987–93)
Tanya Cross (1994–2010)
Kirsty Branning (2011–14)
Rainie Cross (2018-)
RomancesStacey Slater (2006-07, 2017)
Lucy Beale (2014)
Emma Summerhayes (2014-15)
Carmel Kazemi (2017)
Sophie Willmott-Brown (2017)
Mel Owen (2019; kissed)
Ruby Allen (2019; affair)
SonsBradley Branning
Oscar Branning
DaughtersLauren Branning
Abi Branning
FatherJim Branning
MotherReenie Branning
StepmotherDot Branning
GrandsonsLouie Beale
GranddaughtersAbi Branning
BrothersDerek Branning
Jack Branning
SistersApril Branning
Carol Jackson
Suzy Branning
NephewsRobbie Jackson
Billie Jackson
Joey Branning
Ricky Mitchell
James Branning
NiecesBianca Jackson
Sonia Jackson
Alice Branning
Penny Branning
Amy Mitchell
Great-nephewsLiam Butcher
Morgan Butcher
Sami Jackson
Great-niecesNatasha Butcher
Tiffany Butcher
Rebecca Fowler

Maxwell "Max" Branning first appeared in Walford on the 27th June 2006, alongside his wife Tanya Cross and their daughters Lauren Branning and Abi Branning. Max is quite the player and fell for the charms of the loud mouthed and difficult to handle Stacey Slater.

Kill Count

Steven Beale (September 2017) - Shoved him unintentionally into the hard corner of a table, later died from cardiac arrest and injuries of the liver (liver haemorrhage).

Total count - 1


Max arrived in Albert Square in 2006, in search of the son he abandoned years previously. He was reunited with his father, Jim, and finally got to meet his long-lost son, Bradley.

Max then buys a house on the Square, much to Jim Branning's disgust and begins moving his family into Walford. Once they move in, Max surprises Tanya by buying her a business to make into a beauty salon, something she's always dreamed of. However, Max hadn't told Tanya that Bradley lived there. Initially furious, Tanya demands they move straight out again. She soon changes her mind and the Branning family stay, much to the upset of Jim & Bradley.

After rejecting a relationship with his father initially, when Dot learns of Max's family living on the Square and the estrangement between Max, Jim and Bradley, she sets about making things right. Max and Bradley quickly take some steps to make things right and develop a relationship but Max & Jim have a lot more bad blood.

The woman Max had an affair with, Gemma comes to Walford looking for Max, believing that he's scared to tell Tanya the truth about them. Max tries to tell her not to call him any longer, but she ignores him and Bradley catches the pair together. When she books an appointment with Tanya and Bradley see's her, he helps her to realise that Max wouldn't treat her so badly if he truly loved her. Gemma leaves Walford.

Max informs Dot about some of Jim's bad behaviour during Max's childhood, telling her of a time when Jim gave his alcoholic wife a bottle bourbon for her birthday and then went out. Reenie, Max's deceased mother, then got drunk and ran herself a bath, but in her drunken state, she forgot to put any cold water in and fell in the bath, badly scalding herself. When Jim came home later, he docked her money for wasting water.

When Max learns Bradley has a chance to get a promotion, but his co-workers treat him like a joke, Max encourages him to do whatever he can to get the job. Bradley forwards an email his co-workers sent about his boss to the boss which gets him sacked and Bradley gets promoted. Jim is disgusted by Bradley's behaviour and blames Max for poisoning him and calls Rachel, Bradley's mother and Max's first and estranged wife to let her know that Max is back in Bradley's life. Rachel comes to Walford to try and convince Bradley to come home with her. Initially agreeing to move back, after Max talks with Rachel, she decides she'll stay in Walford. When Rachel gets drunk at the opening of Tanya's beauty salon and causes a scene during a drunken altercation with Tanya, Max has words and Rachel tells him she wants him back and there's a moment where they almost kiss, however, nothing happens. The next day, Rachel tells Tanya that she and Max were together. She tells Bradley as well. Bradley talks to Rachel and realises that she lied about her and Max and that she still has feelings for him. Rachel leaves Walford but warns Bradley to be careful.

When Bradley comes back from a course for his new job on his birthday, Max invites him to dinner with him and Tanya and asks Stacey to come. Sean, Stacey's brother, invites himself along too. Stacey is distracted at dinner and after she leaves, Bradley follows and she tells him that she's pregnant. Shocked and upset that Stacey didn't tell him sooner, Badley storms off. Max goes to look for Bradley and demands to know what Stacey did to upset him and she tells him about her pregnancy. Max encourages Stacey to think about what she wants why he goes to talk to Bradley. Max talks about his own mistakes as a parent and tells Bradley that he doesn't regret having him. Bradley however, decides that he doesn't want to end up like his Dad and gets it in his mind that he wants an abortion. He tells Stacey and that they should have it done ASAP. When Max gets back home, Tanya tells Max that Sean kissed her.

The next day, the pair decide to go for the abortion. Stacey feels like Max betrayed her and he tells her to put it off and talk about it more. When that fails, he talks to Bradley and tries to stop him, but Bradley's mind is made up. They head to the abortion clinic. Once there, Stacey tells Bradley she doesn't want to have an abortion but Bradley makes it clear he wants to be with Stacey and doesn't want a baby yet. She has the termination but is clearly upset with the decision she made.

To hurt Bradley, Stacey makes a move on Max and they have sex. They begin an affair, but Tanya tells Max she is pregnant. He tries to save his marriage despite promising Stacey that he will leave Tanya. Tanya confides in Stacey that she is pregnant, so Stacey gives Max an ultimatum: either he tells Tanya the truth or she will. Within thirty minutes, Max takes his family to Spain, and a few weeks later tells Bradley they are moving there permanently.

Max returns with his family as he wants to be with Stacey, only to find that she and Bradley have reconciled and are now engaged. Stacey rejects Max's advances. On the night of Bradley and Stacey's wedding, Max kisses Stacey, and although she rejects him again, Max's daughter Lauren captures the kiss on video. Soon after, Tanya and Max's son Oscar is born.

Max and Stacey then continue with their families until Christmas Eve when they are caught in the act by Max's eldest daughter Lauren, who catches Max trying to make a move on Stacey on her wedding day. The Branning's and the Slater's then gather for Christmas Day, unaware of what Lauren is planning to expose. Max and Stacey's affair is finally revealed to the whole family when they find the DVD that is under the Christmas tree. The family then play the DVD, although Lauren does try and stop them, and discover this dirty secret. This causes a lot of fights within the two families and Max and Stacey find themselves outcasts.

Tanya files for divorce, but it is messy, with Max interfering with her romance with Sean Slater and threatening to expose her as an unfit mother. Having had enough of Max, Tanya works with Sean, and drugs Max and puts him in a coffin before burying him alive in the woods (she does this knowing that Max had a deeply traumatic experience as a child where his Father left him in a coffin and made him think he'd been buried alive).

An attack of conscience prompts Tanya to dig Max up and after a brief scuffle in which he tries to strangle her, he decides to leave Walford as he can see how much devastation he had caused.
Max branning gallery 07

Max's departure drives Tanya and the kids to his brother Jack, who begins to take Max's place as the father of the family. Everyone accepts Jack over Max, except Max's youngest daughter Abi who secretly brings her Dad back to Walford.

Max returns in 2008 and sets out to break Jack and Tanya's relationship, causing many confrontations within the Branning family. He also tries to rekindle his romance with Stacey and tries to salvage something from his relationship with his Father and siblings.

Max starts making people's life a living hell. He framed his brother Jack for a crime he did not commit, he threatens to take the kids off Tanya, he ruins his fathers birthday and he drives his kids into the arms of Jack.

Discovering he was the one who framed him for robbery, Jack abducts Max and beats him up, after which, Max and Tanya kiss. Later that evening he is the victim of a deliberate hit-and-run, which Tanya confesses to and is arrested. However, Lauren later admits that she was driving the car and turns herself in to the police. She reveals she tried to kill Max because he attacked he boyfriend, Peter Beale and forced him to end their relationship. Tanya is released and Lauren is taken into care. Lauren is found not guilty of attempted murder, but guilty of grievous bodily harm, and she decides to return home.

Max branning gallery 05
Max and Tanya start a secret relationship, and Tanya later allows Max to move back with his family. Max gets into debt and starts conning people with false insurance claims, including Phil Mitchell, Heather Trott, Ian Beale and Masood Ahmed. However his dodgy schemes are found out, and after failing to con his ex-wife Rachel out of money, the debt collectors arrive at the house and take his assets. Once the extent of Max's debts, lies and cons become clear, Tanya resolves to leave him. She gets in the car to go but Abi refuses, saying they need to stick together, so Tanya leaves with Lauren and Oscar. Sinking into depression after losing his family, Max then sends Abi to live with her mother, as he cannot look after her.
Max and Bradley decide to go into business together, and Roxy Mitchell rents the car lot to them. After Archie's murder on Christmas Day 2009, Max discovers that Bradley punched Archie because he raped and impregnated Stacey. When the police come for Bradley, Max helps him flee with Stacey, but the police chase Bradley to a rooftop where he stumbles and falls to his death. As Max and Stacey cry, she admits to him that she killed Archie. Falling into a deep depression, Max's sister Carol moves in to help out. Max then has a brief fling with Stacey's friend, Becca Swanson. Stacey has gone missing, but Max follows Becca one day who leads him to Stacey. After an emotional confrontation, Max takes Stacey home, and the pair agrees to tell no one about Archie's murder. In June 2010, Vanessa Gold buys a car from Max. They begin an affair and after solving problems with her ex-husband Harry and going back and forward with their affair, they plan to get married. It's going to be a double wedding with Vanessa her daughter Jody and her fiancé Darren Miller. Meanwhile Max and Tanya begin an affair behind Vannessa and Greg's (Tanya's husband) backs. The affair is revealed and Vanessa trashes Max his place in fury. Carol and Jack throw Vanessa out because Tanya and the kids need a place to live now Greg knows about the affair.

Vanessa ends her affair with Max in order to save her daughter Jodie's relationship with Darren, as Jodie plans to break up with Darren because she feels she is betraying her father every time she sees Vanessa with Max. When she returns the next day to collect some clothes, Max and Vanessa kiss but she stops it. Lauren turns up at Max's unannounced, and Tanya follows, revealing that Lauren was expelled from school in America for smoking drugs. The next day Max upsets Abi by joking to Darren that Abi must fancy her, not realising she really does, and Lauren by trying to get involved in her personal life. Tanya arrives to speak to Lauren and realises Max is heartbroken about Vanessa. She later visits Vanessa and convinces her to take Max back, which she does. Max then comforts Carol after the death of her son Billie. After Billie's funeral, Lauren is angry at Max for not talking about Bradley, saying that Max is wrong for calling him a decent man, so Max tells her he did not kill Archie. Lauren thinks he must know who did so she visits Jack and tells him what Max said. Jack says Max is just protecting her and probably cannot accept that Bradley is a killer. At a party, Max angrily confronts Jay Brown after he makes sexual remarks to Lauren. Max discovers that Harry has been putting nude pictures of Vanessa around Walford and vows revenge but Vanessa stops him, telling him that Harry is not Jodie's real father.

Harry starts taking revenge by throwing a brick through their window, destroying Vanessa's clothes and killing Jodie's cat. Max and Jack threaten Harry, thinking it is over, but Jack is grabbed by two men the night before his wedding to Ronnie, and Max finds him the next day in the boot of his car. Lauren concludes that Max killed Archie because he has been displaying violent behaviour, but Max tells her that he made a promise to the killer to protect them. After Stacey tells Lauren that Max is looking after her, Lauren tells Max that she has worked out that Stacey is the killer.

In July 2015, after Ben Mitchell had been arrested for Lucy's murder, Max's daughter, Abi Branning, confronted the police, saying she believes Max killed Lucy. Whilst searching his house, DI Keeble discovers blood on Max's shoes which was later identified as Lucy's. At his trial, Max protests he is innocent and after the trial, he phones Stacey Branning, claiming he knows who killed Lucy (unknown to him that it was in fact Bobby Beale) and it leads to a fight in the Square between Stacey and Abi. In August 2015, Abi confessed to Max's sister, Carol Jackson that she and Max had cleaned the garage the day after Lucy was killed. Abi informed the police, who once again identified as Lucy's. Meanwhile, Max is beaten up in prison by a gang of thugs. Later that day, Carol visits Max in prison, saying she believes that he killed Lucy and again, he protests his innocence. He is taken away by prison guards.

Max was found guilty of Lucy's murder and was sentenced to 21 years in prison - 20 after being wrongfully charged for the murder of Lucy Beale and one year for escaping royal custody after being found guilty. He was later released in June 2016, after Bobby Beale confessed to the police that he killed Lucy.

Max returns briefly after being released to return a letter delivered to him by Stacey but from Lauren and Abi. Lauren chases after his car but Max ignores her. He returns at Christmas after saving Stacey & Martin's Christmas by sending a turkey to them.

Max initially acts as though he has forgiven all those who wronged him and forgives Ian, Jane & Phil. He doesn't drink or smoke any longer but it's quickly established when he visits Phil Mitchell, that Max is self-harming by burning cigarettes against his arm.

When Max returns to Walford, he is hell-bent on revenge after half the Square helped throw him into jail. He becomes involved in a plot run by the Willmott-Brown family (of which Kathy’s rapist James Willmott-Brown is the patriarch), to demolish the Square and replace it with luxury tower blocks.

In August 2017, he is present for Luke Willmott-Brown's prison release party. Mick Carter runs into some money troubles with his and wife Linda Carter's pub, so Max suggests he sell the freehold of the pub to the company he works for, Grafton Hill, who will pay the expenses. Sophie Browning (née Willmott-Brown) is "assigned" to the pub, and pretends to help the Carters. Shirley is always suspicious of Sophie.

Max manipulates Steven, Lauren's boyfriend, into helping him when he finds out Steven is lying about having a brain tumour to Lauren so she could stay with him. In his bid for revenge on Jane, who deliberately covered up Lucy's murder and was the one who moved the body to save Bobby, Max gets Steven to start a fire at Beale’s. Jane is inside, alone and helpless. Steven wants to save her but Max intervenes. He pushes Steven out and he hits the corner of a table, later causing a fatal bleed. Jane pleads with Max but he leaves her inside the burning building to die. The fire crew get her out and she is in a serious condition for a while. When she recovers, Max is there. He tells her that she has to leave Ian and the Square. She pleads with Max to stop this and he admits he couldn't stop things now even if he wanted to. He also threatens Bobby with a video showing that someone can get to Bobby if she doesn't do as he says. Jane leaves but leaves a voicemail for Stacey, who has her phone stolen from her.

He begins a relationship with Carmel Kazemi upon the Willmott-Brown family's request, as she is part of the planning department at the council and she would be useful for insider information. Carmel doesn't know he is in a relationship with Fi. When she catches Max going through her paperwork, he says he was looking for a lighter and reveals he has been self-harming when he doesn't feel in control of situations.

In November 2017, Max tells Lauren about the scheme, to which she is not keen on, but warms to it after being told by Max that Weyland&Co are offering a huge discount to a penthouse in the new property. Later that day, when Max is talking to James, she storms over to them saying she will not let it happen but stops after James lies to her that the project has been moved to a new location.

In December 2017, Carmel finds an engagement ring which Max had dropped on the sofa the day before. When Max comes later to retrieve it, she puts it back and smiles. Later that day, in the Vic, he kisses Sophie in front of almost the entire Square, including Carmel and his own family. The remainder of the Willmott-Brown family enters and reveal to everyone that Weyland&Co own Grafton Hill. After this, Max proposes to Sophie. He only holds the box out, and James tells him to get down on one knee and ask properly. He asks properly but doesn't get on a knee. She starts shaking her head and stutters Max's name. James starts laughing, and Max asks him what is going on. James tells him he has been useful, but all good things come to an end. He shows him a cheque for £350,000 payable to Max and throws it in the fireplace. The Willmott-Brown family are thrown out of the pub by the Carters.

Max realises he has been betrayed and sits in the pub. Concerned for him, Stacey encourages Jack to get Max out. After the Carters and Ian confront him, Jack tells him it is time to go home. He takes Max home, however just before they leave, Kush enters and punches him. Back at Jack's, Max lights the cigar that James gave him and unbuttons the cuff of his sleeve, revealing his burnt arm. He's about to burn himself when Jack catches and stops him.

Max later tells Jack that him being fired was just a "misunderstanding". During the fallout, Luke asks Ingrid Solberg if she knows Max Branning, and she takes him to the Branning residence. Luke dumps the contents of Max's desk at Weyland&Co on his doorstep, and Max grabs him by the collar, but Jack stops him and throws Luke out.

Abi and Lauren go to Jack's house and demand the truth. Max tells them he did it for the money. Lauren reveals to Max that Abi is pregnant with Steven's baby. Lauren becomes suspicious of what Max actually knows and he admits he knows Abi was pregnant but didn't want to ruin things for Lauren either. Stacey comes to see how Max is and Lauren and Abi take some of their anger out on her. When she goes to leave, Max stops her at the door and she tells Max he's still her mate. Once Stacey has left, Lauren reveals she has Weyland's copy of the contract, given to her by Josh because they were always going to betray Max and he didn't think it was right. She tells Max he can have it if he tells her the truth and he continues that it was for the money. When Lauren gives up and says she can have the money but she won't have him and gives him the contract he tells her he doesn't care about the money. She doesn't believe him so he burns the contract and tells her he did it for revenge. Lauren rejects Max after he breaks down about his childhood and storms out. Abi tries to console Max but he lashes out at her, calling her disgusting and a slapper, and tells her to go. She runs off and Jack asks Max what's happened to him. Max says his family is wrecked, there's nothing left of them before he goes to the bathroom wanting to burn himself. He's out of cigarettes so smashes his head into Jack's mirror instead.

Jack finds out that Max made Charlie take Matthew away and no amount of talking from Max can stop Jack from throwing him out. Completely isolated, Max goes away for a couple of days before coming back in a manic state, intent on killing Ian Beale.

Breaking into Ian's while he's out, Max waits for Ian to return and threatens him with a knife, Max isn't making complete sense and is clearly disturbed. When Ian seems to calm Max down before he hits him around the head with a pan. Ian tries to escape but Max grabs him and pulls him back inside the house. Max uses the fairy lights and starts to strangle Ian with them, only stopping when Lauren enters and begs for him to stop. Lauren tries to calm Max down but he's intent on getting revenge and moves on to Phil. Stacey is begged by Lauren to try and stop Max and she follows him to Phil's where he kicks the door in but Stacey won't let him go in. She calms him down and eventually talks him round to coming back to hers. She fixes his head, makes him tea and tells him he can stay the night. They share a moment after she comforts him in his distressed state.

Martin doesn't want Max with them over Christmas, stating that Max had turned into 'a complete psycho'. Stacey asks Max if he can go so they can have a proper family Christmas and he says that it's fine. She's concerned that he has nowhere to stay and he says he'll be fine. He tries to make things up with Lauren and Abi but they reject him again. Manipulating Stacey into coming back to her house alone, Max seduces her and they have sex on Christmas Eve.

On Christmas Day Max takes presents to his daughters. Lauren insists that Max needs help. He says he's fine. Abi comes and shares Christmas dinner with her Dad at the Fowler's.

After Christmas dinner, Stacey tells Max she feels the same as Max and they kiss. Afterwards, Max notices the messages from Jane on her phone and tries to delete them, but the phone has frozen.

Tanya walks into the kitchen just after Stacey and Max have finished kissing.Stacey leaves them to talk but returns to collect nappies in the middle of their conversation. Tanya asks her how she can even have him staying in her house, and Stacey says he is a friend. Tanya guesses they are having an affair again, which they deny. Tanya tells Stacey that Max killed Steven, which the entire Fowler household and Abi overhear. Tanya takes Abi and Stacey screams for Max to leave, which he does.

Abi goes to tell Lauren, Ian and Kathy that Max killed Steven. Ian attacks Max and they scuffle in the streets. Lauren breaks them up and gets Ian inside. Lauren and Abi tell Max to go. With his daughter's rejecting him, Max makes one last attempt to win back Stacey. he admits to her that in prison he attempted suicide and he's just felt disappointed ever since then. Stacy can't forgive Max for lying to her though and she tells him that Tanya's right that he is poison and it should have been him who fell off the roof of The Vic, not Bradley.

After hearing Abi's confession about Max killing Steven, Kathy goes and tells Phil to end it. He takes a gun and heads out to find Max. Getting to the garden just after Stacey has left, he starts fighting with Max. He throws Max around a bit, who does nothing to defend himself and Max smirks when Phil pulls a gun, telling Phil to kill him and struggling with him as he tries to force Phil into killing him. Phil manages to overpower Max and refuses to shoot him, instead leaving Max alone.

Seeing nothing else left for him, Max heads to the roof of the Vic. as he stands on the edge, Abi spots Max and calls out to him. Stacey hears Lauren and Abi shouting and heads outside as well. Lauren and Abi head to the roof to stop Max and while Stacey tells him not to do it. Abi climbs over the wall onto the ledge with her Dad saying she they weren't going in without him and encourages Lauren to also step up, which she does. Max agrees to come down but Lauren stumbles and grabs Abi and both girls fall off the roof. Stacey, Tanya and Max who all witness the fall are all in shock. Mick comes out and calls the police and Sonia arrives and helps the girls.

When the police arrive on the scene, Max is arrested on suspicion of GBH. He initially refuses to go, but Stacey convinces him to assist.

A prison doctor takes photos of Max's bruised body and asks him questions about his mental health. Max denies any mental health issues, and repeatedly asks for news of Lauren and Abi. DI Fuller is waiting outside, and the doctor tells him that Max is fit to be questioned.

Max is provided with a duty solicitor, and they argue over what to say when they ask why he was on the roof. They opt for "no comment" when the solicitor informs him the charge could become murder.

Questioning begins. Fuller asks Max why he was on the roof of the Queen Victoria. Max replies with "no comment". Fuller asks Max why his daughters were on the roof. Max, again, replies with "no comment". Fuller asks him to describe his relationship with his daughters. Yet again, Max replies with "no comment". Fuller asks if Max is a good father, to which the solicitor asks where the conversation is going. Fuller moves on and asks Max if he was in an argument with his daughters. Max, for the fourth time, replies with " no comment". Fuller asks if Max lost his temper, not realising how close to the edge his daughters were. Max replies with "no comment". Fuller asks if Max realised what could have happened, given the conditions. For the sixth time, Max replies with "no comment". The interview is interrupted by a colleague bearing a note. She hands the note to Fuller. Max asks what it is, and Fuller ends the interview. After Fuller's assistant and the solicitor have left, Max asks Fuller what was in the note. Fuller replies with "Maybe it wasn't heat of the moment, maybe that was too sympathetic. You knew exactly what you were doing when you lured them up to the roof. Did you have reason to want your daughters dead, Mr Branning?" Max asks what he is talking about when he says dead, and asks a second time what is in the note. Fuller smiles and replies with "no comment". Max says he will tell Fuller what happened if Fuller tells Max how Abi and Lauren are. Fuller agrees and tells Max to go first. He asks Max why he was on the roof.

Later, Fuller can be seen telling Max that he has given him all the information he has, suggesting Max told him what really happened and Fuller told him about Abi and Lauren. Max tells Fuller that he needs to get out of the police station. Fuller asks Max why he denied he was suicidal - Max tells him it was because he thought they would section him and he wouldn't be able to see Lauren and Abi. The same policewoman who handed Fuller the note calls Fuller out of the interview room.

When Fuller returns, he repeats every word the members of Albert Square used to describe him. DI Fuller continues to hammer him into telling the truth. The solicitor and assistant re-enter and the interview rebegins. Fuller asks Max if he is guilty of causing GBH. Max replies no. Fuller is called out, yet again.

Fuller re-enters with video footage recorded by Keegan of Lauren and Abi's fall, proving that Max didn't push them from the roof. Max leaves and heads straight to the hospital.

Initially seeing Max, Tanya breaks down and they hug, she then rejects him before a nurse interrupts and says she has news about their daughter. At the hospital, Max and Tanya find out that Abi is brain stem dead.

A furious Cora arrives and slaps Max at the hospital. The doctors tell Max they have to deliver the baby in case Abi has a heart attack which will put the baby at risk.

Fi gives Max the papers to a number of businesses Weyland’s own on the Square as a way to make up all that he has been through at the hands of her family. Max has the community centre, the launderettes, the chip shop, the car lot and R&R. he sells them all back except the R&R and the car lot. He tells Cora he will sell them and use the money to get Abi the best care he can.

At the end of the episode, Max drops all the papers to the properties in the car park of the hospital as he struggles with the reality of Abi's situation.


Max's 2018 kicks off with him waking up in his car.

When Max goes to R&R on New Year's Day, he finds Jack inside drinking to the memory of Ronnie on the anniversary of her death. Max is the only one who has remembered. Max gives Jack the R&R back for nothing. Jack asks about the girls and Max says Lauren and the baby are doing well. When Jack asks about Abi, Max breaks down about her prognosis.

Martin thumps Max for Carmel as a bit of payback for what he did to her. Martin briefly confronts Max about if Stacey is with him, which he denies and he tells Martin to forget it happened. Due to Max sleeping with Stacey, she went to visit her mother, Jean, in Brighton, taking her children Lily, Arthur and Hope with her, however, she returned two weeks later, with Martin telling her that he wants custody of the kids. Stacey returns to the house and Lily runs past Martin's daughter Bex Fowler into Martin's arms and he gives Lily a big hug and Martin tells Bex to take Lily upstairs to play with Arthur and Hope - which she does. Martin then throws Stacey out of the house and refuses to give her any access to Lily, Arthur & Hope. Stacey then implies that Martin shouldn't have access to Lily or Arthur as he is not their dad, which makes Martin feel angry and he replies, "I gave you everything". The next day, Bex then offers to take Lily to school but Martin allows Lily to stay off school and tells Bex that he isn't taking any chances of Stacey being anywhere near her. A couple of days later, Lily goes upstairs as she can hear Hope crying, she then picks Hope out of her cot and holds her out of the window shouting for Stacey and saying to her "Hope wants you, Mummy". Martin then talks Lily away from the window and tells her she did a good job of staying calm. Lily then runs outside to see Stacey along with Martin, who is carrying Hope. Stacey then phones Ryan who plans to help Stacey by sending someone out to change the locks on her doors. When Martin goes to work, he leaves Whitney and her younger sister Tiffany - who is Max's great-niece, to look after the kids. However, Whitney allows Stacey to come in, just as Martin's daughter, Bex, realises what Stacey is doing and shouts at Martin to come home, Stacey then locks all the doors in the house as the locks have been changed and tells an angry and devastated Martin that he isn't allowed to see the kids, however she decides to let Martin have access to Lily and her siblings as she can see just how much they mean to him. A few days later, Stacey's cousin Hayley Slater arrives on the Square and she flirts with Martin in front of Lily, although Martin doesn't know that she is a member of the Slater Family. Max then tries to avoid Stacey but finds it hard as they live right next to each other.

Max tells Lauren that Abi is going to be fine but Lauren is distraught when she goes to see her for herself and slaps him for lying. Ian mentions to Sonia that Max needs help. Jack attempts to get Max to see Abi’s situation how it really is.

Jack tries to get Max to talk to him but fails to get through. Max goes to the cafe and sees a collection for Abi that says ‘In memory of Abi Branning’ and is upset as she’s not gone. He also gets a court order to stop the doctors from turning off Abi’s life support.

Sonia and Jack talk about the fact that Max is in denial. Jack asks Ian to talk to Max, hoping that his own experience of losing Lucy will help Max to let go of Abi.

Jack comes down to find Max at the computer, not having slept all night. Jack tells him he’s going to make himself sick. Max has researched about stem cells and plans to take Abi to America for treatment. Lauren gets angry with Max, yelling at him that he killed Abi.

Fearing that the doctors are going to go against his wishes and turn off Abi’s machine, Max barricades himself in Abi’s room. When the nurse says to Lauren that if the doctor thinks Max is a danger to himself, security will be called. Lauren says that he just hasn’t slept and calls Jack. When Jack fails to talk Max round, security is called. Lauren worries that Max will do something stupid if security tries and break in. The nurse eventually calms Max enough and he removes the blockade in front of the door.

Back at Jack’s, Max has been drinking himself into a stupor. Jack asks if Max is trying to drink himself to death. Jay brings over a package for Abi- a cot she ordered for her baby before Christmas. Max decides to build the cot rather than visit Abi with Lauren. Once he’s completed the cot, Max becomes angry and smashes it up before Jack comes in and consoles him. Dot talks to Max about getting the chance to say goodbye to Abi. Max finally is ready to accept that Abi’s machine needs to be switched off.

Max & Lauren prepare for Abi’s machine to be switched off. They go to her flat to get some of her things for her, Max tries to find a pink bunny he got her as a baby. Dot has it and brings it when she visits. When Rainie and Cora arrive, Cora tells Max that Tanya wants him to say goodbye and leave, which he does, despite protests from Lauren and Jack that it’s unfair to Max.

Max goes to the hospital chapel, where Tanya is waiting for him to leave. She calls him a coward for trying to commit suicide and says that he killed Abi. She goes to say her own goodbye to Abi but once she sees the bunny Max had placed in Abi’s hand, she asks someone to get Max. Jack goes and finds his brother and he is there as they switch off Abi's machine at 8.32pm, the same time she was born.

The week of Abi's funeral, Max is lied to by his family about the funeral already taking place without him. This sends Max into a drunken depression. Desperate to at least visit his daughter's grave, Max is stopped by Jay and Mick from driving drunk. After a few harsh truths from Mick, Max goes to Lauren and says he's going to go away for a while but asks her about the funeral. When she's unable to tell him anything other than basics, Max realises she's been lying to him and the funeral hasn't happened.

Lauren confesses the funeral hasn't happened and that Tanya won't go if he does. Jay takes pity on Max and invites him back to his flat and talks to him. Jay tells Max that Abi loved him and that she would want him there. On the day of the funeral, Max goes to the hearse when it arrives. Cora tells Max it should have been him in that coffin, helagrees. Max heads back across the Square as the others go to leave for the funeral.

At the church, Cora tells Jack that Max is probably plotting revenge for being deniedll his right to say goodbye to Abi. She mentions Abi's baby and Jack leaves to go and find Max during the funeral. At the hospital, Jack finds Abi’s daughter has gone missing and assumes Max has taken her. Max walks in with the baby and said he had been registering the baby's name. He then leaves the hospital as the funeral is almost over. Max arrives once the service has finished and Jay lets Max have some time to say his own goodbye. He reads a poem and puts a framed picture of Abi's baby on the coffin. Lauren comes in and tells him she's going to leave. He hugs her and tells her to be happy. They both leave the church.

Max goes back to the hospital, where Jack is still with the baby. It's revealed that Max has named the baby Abi, in her mother’s memory. When Max and Rainie return to Walford following a break away after Abi's funeral, he marries Rainie and later introduces her as his wife at E20 to the residents.

That same day, he reveals he and Rainie have re-opened the car lot as Maximum Motors. A few days later, Jack is confused to find Max in a meeting with Rainie and Calvin, a social worker, over Abi Branning Jr.'s adoption. Max tries and gets Jack behind the idea. Later, it is revealed that the marriage between Max and Rainie is a business agreement so Max can gain custody of Abi Branning Jr.

Phil is furious when he discovers that Max has returned and has one of his former businesses but despite his attempts to con Max, Max fends him off whilst mocking him. Despite a less than easy start, Max settles back into life on the square. Him and Rainie successfully fool their neighbours and social services whilst moving in with Jack. Rainie worries that Jack's girlfriend, Mel Owen, suspects their relationship is fake so they put on a convincing romance, including them passionately kissing. When Max realises that Rainie's kiss was real, he is shocked but she quickly admits it was a mistake. Donna Yates , who was Abi's friend, tries to stop Rainie and Max getting custody of the baby, but Rainie admits to Donna that she wants to bring up the baby because she cannot have children of her own due to her former drug use. Cora also returns and offers Rainie a job in Exeter and a chance to bring up Abi with her and Tanya, but Rainie reveals Cora's £50,000 bribe to social services. Rainie searches for houses so she and Max can bring up Abi on their own, and Max thanks her, asking what she will do once she receives her pay-off. This leaves Rainie upset as she secretly wants to stay with Max and Abi. Feeling lonely, she has a one-night stand with Jack but they both agree to never talk about it again the next day, not realising that Jack's daughter Amy had seen them kissing and taken a video. When Rainie decides to leave, Max realises his own feelings for her and stops her at the train station where they agree to enter a real relationship.

Just as the Brannings seem to be back on track, Cora discovers from Amy that Rainie slept with Jack and she smugly informs Max. Devastated, Max punches Jack in the cafe and confronts Rainie, who admits to it but tells him that it happened when her and Max weren't properly together. Max decides to forgive them both for the sake of baby Abi and they agree to deny it since Cora doesn't have any proper evidence. However, in the pub, Cora repeatedly insults Rainie to the point where Rainie slaps her, before Cora punches her back. Whilst outside, Max scolds Rainie for her actions and tells her she may well have ruined his case for Abi. Meanwhile, Jack tends to Cora who tells him that contrary to his, Max and Rainie's beliefs, she does have evidence of the one-night stand because Amy took a video. Jack tells Max and Rainie about this and Rainie decides to confront her mother. She enters the Beale's house from the backdoor and Cora mistakes this as her attempting to kidnap baby Abi. Max finds out where Rainie is and finds both her and Cora arguing. When Cora hits Rainie over the back of the head with a frying pan, Max flees with Abi back to his house where he's joined by Stacy. Social services are called and they arrive to take baby Abi from Max, leaving him heartbroken. The next day, however, Rainie blackmails Cora into dropping her application for Abi after threatening to tell the police that she attacked her. Max receives a call from social services and after persuading Ian and Jack to be present at a meeting, he is given baby Abi to care for. Max is delighted and he later reconciles with Rainie.

A year later when Bobby is released, Max is horrified and began a conflict with him as he never will forgive him for what he has done, including his ruined relationship with his daughters, such as Abi’s death and Lauren’s departure.

Ian Beale | Sharon Mitchell | Kathy Beale | Dot Branning | Martin Fowler | Phil Mitchell | Sonia Fowler | Robbie Jackson | Mel Owen | Ben Mitchell | Billy Mitchell | Kat Moon | Mo Harris | Bex Fowler | Patrick Trueman | Louise Mitchell | Bobby Beale | Stacey Fowler | Jean Slater | Ruby Allen | Honey Mitchell | Denise Fox | Max Branning | Janet Mitchell | Shirley Carter | Jay Brown | Rainie Branning | Jack Branning | Dotty Cotton | Will Mitchell | Whitney Dean | Tiffany Butcher | Amy Mitchell | Dotty Cotton | Kim Fox-Hubbard | Lily Fowler | Ricky Mitchell | Tommy Moon | Dennis Rickman | Tina Carter | Linda Carter | Mick Carter | Bert Moon | Ernie Moon | Kush Kazemi | Pearl Fox-Hubbard | Ollie Carter | Arthur Fowler | Keegan Baker | Ted Murray | Karen Taylor | Keanu Taylor | Bernadette Taylor | Chatham Taylor | Riley Taylor | Hope Fowler | Abi Branning | Arshad Ahmed | Mariam Ahmed | Callum "Halfway" Highway | Hayley Slater | Mitch Baker | Stuart Highway | Adam Bateman | Cherry Slater | Evie Steele | Mica Fox-Hubbard | Bailey Baker | Habiba Ahmed | Iqra Ahmed | Ash Kaur
Characters (Selected)
Saeed Jeffery | Debbie Wilkins | Tony Carpenter | Kelvin Carpenter | Naima Jeffery | Sue Osman | Mehmet Osman | Ali Osman | Vicki Fowler | Paul Trueman | Zoe Slater | Chrissie Watts | David Wicks | Simon Wicks | Ricky Butcher | Diane Butcher | Andrew Cotton | Peter Beale | Liam Butcher | Dean Wicks | Babe Smith | Courtney Mitchell | Grant Mitchell | James Willmott-Brown | Johnny Carter | Tanya Cross | Lauren Branning | Michelle Fowler | Alfie Moon | Annie Smith | Lofty Holloway | Mary Smith
Characters (Selected)
Lou Beale | Andy O'Brien | Pete Beale | Arthur Fowler | Cindy Beale | Steve Owen | Tiffany Mitchell | Ethel Skinner | Angie Watts | Roy Evans | Mark Fowler | Barry Evans | Den Watts | Dennis Rickman | Johnny Allen | Pauline Fowler | Frank Butcher | Archie Mitchell | Nana Moon | Bradley Branning | Pat Evans | Heather Trott | Derek Branning | Lucy Beale | Nick Cotton | Jim Branning | Charlie Slater | Peggy Mitchell | Arthur Chubb (Fatboy) | Ronnie Mitchell | Roxy Mitchell | Steven Beale | Abi Branning | Harold Legg | Hunter Owen
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