EastEnders spoilers: Ian Beale forces Max Branning out of Walford in ‘blackmail’ twist

EastEnders: Ian Beale proposes to Sharon Watts

Ian (played by Adam Woodyatt) and Max (Jake Wood) have never made it any secret how much they despise one another, with the latter becoming one of several suspects in the running to have attacked the EastEnders stalwart. Just before the vicious assault on the longest-serving character on the BBC soap, the love rat had threatened the pub owner after Ian discovered his rival’s affair with Linda Carter (Kellie Bright) This resulted in the Queen Vic landlord trying to frame his business partner for fraud before the former car lot salesman threatened to get rid of his arch-nemesis once and for all. However, could it be Sharon Beale’s (Letitia Dean) husband who holds the cards this time?

Following his attack a couple of weeks ago, Ian has been lying up in a hospital bed after it was discovered he had a bleed on the brain.

During one of his moments of consciousness, the stalwart informed his mother Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth) he knew who had assaulted him.

Though, he never actually gave a name, with Tina Carter (Luisa Bradshaw-White) and Bobby Beale (Clay Milner Russell) being hauled in for questioning by the police, so far.

Having married his childhood sweetheart Sharon after fearing he was going to die, the father-of-three returns to the Queen Vic in upcoming episodes.

As he stands outside the place he was attacked, the pub owner is surrounded by various characters who could have wanted him dead.

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One such person is Max, who Ian looks at with great trepidation, seemingly stewing up a plan to get him gone and out of his life.

Although the love rat might not have been the one to have attacked him, the soap stalwart could inform the police it was his business partner who struck him down.

This would leave the former car lot salesman in trouble as he doesn’t actually have an alibi for the night of the assault.

Linda has covered for him so far, telling his brother and detective Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) he was with her at the time.

However, in recent scenes, Max explained he wasn’t with his lover at all but somewhere else entirely which puts him as one of the top suspects.

With no solid reason as to where he was, the authorities could begin to build a case against the businessman.

Though Ian could turn the tables and tell his rival if he wants the police to pursue someone else, he will leave Walford for good.

Although he isn’t one to be blackmailed easily, the father-of-three might not have any choice but to follow what his arch-nemesis has told him.

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Grateful they have left the door open for Max

Jake Wood

It was announced earlier this year Max actor Jake, 48, would be leaving the soap during the festive season after 15 years.

This could certainly be one way he makes his exit, with Ian being the person to set in stone the sequence of events which force him out of Walford.

Bosses have promised the door is being left open for the love rat to return in the future, so if the real attacker is arrested, will the former car lot salesman be able to make a comeback and seek revenge on his arch-nemesis?

Speaking of leaving the character behind him, Jake said: “I’ve had 15 wonderful years at EastEnders and have made some truly great friends.”

“I’ll, of course, miss everyone there but I’m grateful they have left the door open for Max and I’m excited to see what the next chapter holds,” he added.

Viewers are thinking this twist could happen with one writing on Twitter: “How long after Ian finds out Sharon attacked him/got someone to do it will he start planning to pin it on Max? Hours? Days? #EastEnders.”

Another added: “Max seems guilty to. It isn’t him though to me it seems obvious especially since Max had been the one that held all the cards and issued Ian with threats. #Eastenders.”

Whilst a third commented: “I’ve got a feeling Max will be framed for Ian’s attack and that will lead to him going on the run. #EastEnders.”

EastEnders continues Monday at 8pm on BBC One.

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