EastEnders: Jake Wood and Jo Joyner on Max and Tanya Branning’s not so happy Christmas and Kat Moon’s lover!

by Lynn Connolly

The Branning family are in for a dramatic Christmas, what with deep dark secrets being revealed, and the death of Branning brother Derek…

However, on the flip side, Tanya Branning gets good news next week when her latest MRI scan comes back giving her a clean bill of health, and of course, there’s her wedding to Max on Christmas Eve to look forward to.

And in today’s Sun TV magazine, Jake Wood and Jo Joyner, who of course play Max and Tanya, have been talking about their characters’ dramatic Christmas and they also discussed the ever so long running Kat Moon (Jessie Wallace) affair plotline, which of course will see one of the Branning me being unmasked at Kat’s lover in the episode that airs on December 20th.

However, speaking first about the big secret that Max and Derek (Jamie Foreman) have been harbouring – but which Derek is going to make public knowledge on Christmas Day – Jake said, “I got very excited when I read the scripts!”

And Jo added, “We only got them the day before we started filming so our reaction was: “S***!”

Jake said, “It feels like classic EastEnders. We only filmed it recently, but none of the cast had known what Max’s secret was — they were all shocked.

“If it can even surprise the people at EastEnders, then viewers at home are in for a real treat.

“An EastEnders Christmas has become a part of British life.”

Jo added, “It’s like the Queen’s Speech.”

Letting Max’s metaphorical cat out of its bag is of course going to be one of the last things dastardly Derek ever does, but before that, there’s the issue of which Branning brother has been having an affair with Kat.

Of that, Jake said, “Kat’s mystery lover has caught the imagination. I get a lot of questions about that.

“I was told quite early on, to be honest. I think I was one of the chosen few.

“I’ve been party to that information for the best part of the year.

And when Jo asked him, “Did Jessie [Wallace, who plays Kat] know?” Jake replied, “I don’t know.”

Jo said, “She must have done. She can’t have had to play it ambiguous for months.”

And when asked, “Is it fun keeping those kind of secrets?” Jake remarked, “Yeah, I think that’s a great sign for the show if everyone’s intrigued as to what’s going to happen.

“That’s what you hope for working on this show — that you’ll create that sort of buzz about the characters and who’s doing what to whom.”

Jo added, “I’m good at keeping secrets when it comes to storylines because it’s in the show’s interest and it’s in your interest.

“And if people genuinely like the show enough to be asking you, then it’s in their interest as well to keep the surprise.

“We get to keep a couple of big secrets every year and I think that’s great. That’s what’s missing from soaps nowadays.

“In the old days, when you had Den Watts serving Angie the divorce papers or Den being the bloke who was with Michelle [Fowler], I remember those things vividly because we weren’t able to know about them until you saw them happen on TV.

“If we could do that with every single storyline again I think it would be brilliant. We’d be back to what it used to be.”

That remark made me wonder actually; do you enjoy getting spoilers ahead of big storylines? Or would you prefer not to know and only find out about a big plot twist when it happens?

Let us know! Meanwhile, here’s a look at EastEnders’ Christmas trailer…

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.