Jake Dylan Wood is an English actor and podcaster, known forhis role as Max Branning in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. He has also madeguest appearances in series including Only Fools and Horses and Red Dwarf. In2014, Wood competed on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing alongside professionaldancer Janette Manrara. In the United States, he is known as the voice of theGEICO gecko. In 2018, he began co-hosting Pound for Pound, a boxing podcastwith Spencer Oliver.
Wood was born in Westminster, London to anEnglish father and a French mother. He attended City of London Academy HighburyGrove and trained as an actor at the Anna Scher Drama School in Islington,North London.
His first acting role was in the 1984 televisionseries The Gentle Touch. He has since appeared in several television seriesincluding May to December, Minder, Only Fools and Horses, Nightingales, Murderin 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, ATouch of Frost, The Bill, Le Café des Rêves, Sea of Souls, Doc Martin and TheThin Blue Line. He has appeared in the films Flesh and Blood (1985) with RutgerHauer and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Crimetime (1996) with Stephen Baldwin, TubeTales (1999), The Aryan Couple (2004) and The Illusionist (2006) oppositeEdward Norton. Wood starred in the 1989 Yellow pages TV Advert, entitled”Party Party” and, until 2015, was the voice of the GEICO geckoadvertisements on American television. Wood also featured alongside Cobent CTOand 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 appearedin Only Fools and Horses as an assistant for Rodney Trotter (NicholasLyndhurst), in the episode The Jolly Boys’ Outing. In the 8th series of RedDwarf he played Kill Crazy, a prison inmate. Wood also played the eldest son,Dougie, in sitcom family The Wilsons.
In March 1990, Wood portrayed the role ofJackson in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a minor character who met DianeButcher (Sophie Lawrence) while she was sleeping rough on the streets ofLondon. Wood was later cast to play the regular character Max Branning fromJune 2006 to February 2021. In 2014,Wood took part in the 12th series of Strictly Come Dancing. He was partnered with Janette Manrara,reaching the semi-final. In May 2015, Wood announced that he would be taking ayear-long break from EastEnders. Wood said “I have been at EastEnders fornine years and I feel the time is right to give Max a break. It won’t be fortoo long as I shall be back next year to see Max face another chapter ofdrama.”
In January 2018, Wood started hosting aboxing podcast, Pound for Pound, with Spencer Oliver. In September 2020, it wasannounced that Wood would be departing from the cast of EastEnders afterfifteen years in the role, with Max being written out as part of an “explosiveexit”. His final appearance aired on 19 February 2021.
Wood is a fan of Arsenal and took part inthe 2007 Great North Run. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, Alison, whomhe married in 2001, and their two children, Buster and Amber.
In 2019, he ran the London Marathon withsome of his EastEnders co-stars for a Dementia campaign in honour of Barbara Windsor.