Jake Wood has promised 'EastEnders' fans that Max Branning will be a "changed character" when he returns to Albert Square.

Jake Wood

Jake Wood

The ginger love rat was thrown behind bars earlier this year after he was wrongly convicted of Lucy Beale's (Hetti Bywater) murder, and

the actor thinks his brief stint in prison has left his alter ego - who will be back in Walford at Christmas - a very different person.

He said: "He's a changed character.

"It was interesting for me to see those changes - he's not the same man as when he left. And I think the viewers will be surprised and excited about that. The reaction he gets will be interesting"

Though Max's daughter Lauren (Jacqueline Jossa) is currently living with her boyfriend Steven Beale (Aaron Sidwell) and his family - who framed Max as they knew their young son Bobby (Eliot Carrington) was Lucy's real killer - Jake thinks his relationship with his older daughter will be better than that he has with younger daughter Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald).

He told RadioTimes.com: [His relationship with Abi] is a little bit fractured.

"But, as it turns out, things are better between Lauren and Max than they are with Abi.

"I think Lauren will be more pleased to see him, but hopefully Abi will come around. As I say, Max is a changed character coming back, so hopefully the girls will see that."

While it has been speculated Max will return to Albert Square looking for revenge on the Beales, Jake refused to confirm whether or not that is the case.

He teased: "If he's going to live on that Square, they have to come to some sort of understanding, put it that way. It's up to Max whether he forgives them or not. He's spent all that time in prison as a result of them lying in court. But it depends how Max feels when he gets back."