Jack Branning

Jack Branning

Infobox EastEnders character 2

character_name=Jack Branning
actor_name=Scott Maslen
introducer=Diederick Santer
first=29 October 2007
classification=Present; regular
Date of birth=1 December 1972
status=In a relationship
occupation=Club owner
home=5 Albert Square
family=Branning family
father= Jim Branning
mother= Reenie Branning
wife= Selina Branning (-2007)
sisters= Carol Jackson
Suzy Branning
April Branning
brothers=Derek Branning
Max Branning
daughters = Penny Branning
nephews= Robbie Jackson
Billy Jackson
Bradley Branning
Oscar Branning
nieces=Bianca Jackson
Sonia Fowler
Lauren Branning
Abi Branning
great nephews=Liam Butcher
Morgan Jackson-King
great nieces=Natasha Butcher
Tiffany Dean
cousins=Gordon Branning

Jack Branning is a fictional character in the popular BBC soap opera "EastEnders". He is played by Scott Maslen and made his first appearance on 29 October 2007. He is the youngest child of Jim and Reenie Branning and the brother of established characters Carol Jackson and Max Branning. The character was introduced to the show during a period when "EastEnders" was being routinely criticised in the media for its reliance on resurrecting old characters. The casting of Scott Maslen provoked some controversy, being the first time an actor had been poached from one mainstream soap to another. It was quickly established that Jack is a morally ambiguous character, with a murky past in the police force resulting in the paralysis of his young daughter. Tabloid media have praised the character for his role as resident Romeo, commenting frequently on his good looks and attractiveness, however broadsheet press have been more critical of Maslen's acting

Character creation


Jack Branning was one of several new characters to join the "EastEnders" cast in the second half of 2007. At a time when the show was undergoing media criticism for its resurrection of old characters- [cite news|author=Hazel Davis|url=http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/tv/2007/10/eastenders_ricky_and_bianca.html|title=Bringing Ricky and Bianca back to EastEnders is the easy option|publisher="The Guardian"|date=31 October 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23] with the announcement that Patsy Palmer and Sid Owen would be reprising their roles as Bianca and Ricky Butcher respectivelycite news|author=Jason Deans|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/oct/29/bbc.television?gusrc=rss&feed=media|title=Rickeey!!! Bianca's back on the Square|publisher="The Guardian"|date=29 October 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23] - John Yorke, the BBC's controller of drama production, defended the show's ability to create interesting, new characters. He praised the show's executive producer Diederick Santer for his development of new, "strong characters", including Jack Branning, and Roxy and Ronnie Mitchell. Speaking of this new wave of characters, he stated: "It feels like a new dynasty is emerging, which is important."cite news|author=Matthew Hemley|url=http://www.thestage.co.uk/news/newsstory.php/18811/yorke-claims-eastenders-will-not-rely-on-old|title=Yorke claims EastEnders will not rely on old characters|publisher="The Stage"|date=9 November 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23]

Prior to his introduction in October 2007, the character was referred to once, a week before his arrival. He is a member of the soap's Branning family; his sister Carol first appeared in the serial in 1993, while father Jim had appeared from 1996. More recently, brother Max and his own family were introduced in June 2006.


It was first announced on 13 July 2007 that actor Scott Maslen had been cast in the role of Jack. Previously best known for his role as DS Phil Hunter in ITV police drama "The Bill", the media were quick to pick up on the fact his new role was notably similar - with TV critic Jane Simon sarcastically commenting: "What a relief it must be for actor Scott Maslen to get a role that allows him to show off his incredible versatility."cite news|author=Jane Simon|url=http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/tv/todaystv/2007/10/29/soapwatch-89520-20025882/|title=Soapwatch|publisher="The Mirror"|date=29 October 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23] Malsen himself pointed out that the character of Jack was actually higher ranking than Phil Hunter, joking: "I've been promoted from playing a DS in Sun Hill!"Citation|last=|first=|author-link=|publication-date=2007|date=|year=|title=Scott speaks!|periodical=Inside Soap| publication-place=England | place= | publisher= | volume= | issue= | pages=16 | url= | doi= | oclc= | accessdate=] Maslen's casting marked the first time an established actor had been poached from one mainstream soap to another.cite news|author=Emma Cox & Sarah Nathan|url=http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/showbiz/tv/article245944.ece|title=Cor Bill-imey for TV cop Scott|publisher="The Sun"|date=13 July 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23] Speaking for the first time about his new role, Maslen said: "I was very sad to leave "The Bill" but after five years I wanted to explore new opportunities. "The Bill" afforded me some fantastic storylines. I'm really looking forward to playing Jack. He's an extremely competitive man who likes to win in business and in pleasure!"Citation|last=|first=|author-link=|publication-date=2007|date=|year=|title=True or false?|periodical=Soaplife| publication-place=England | place= | publisher= | volume= | issue= | pages=38 | url= | doi= | oclc= | accessdate=]

Character history

Branning was previously a police officer, until, after he was awarded the Queen's Gallantry Medal [Inferred from ribbon shown on "EastEnders" episode for 15 September 2008] for putting away a villain, that villain had his daughter Penny injured, such that she is now paralysed from the waist down, and Jack and Selina separated.

Character development

Upon announcing his casting, Maslen described the character of Jack as "an extremely competitive man who always likes to win in business and in pleasure".cite news|url=http://www.myparkmag.co.uk/articles/celebs/tv-news/eastenders-rob-kazinsky-welcomes-new-hunk.jsp|title=EastEnders Rob Kazinsky welcomes new hunk|publisher=myparkmag.co.uk|date=5 October 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23] He mentioned that there would be an "instant attraction" between Jack and fellow newcomer Ronnie Mitchell, and explained that he already had a longstanding friendship with Samantha Janus who plays Ronnie, having known her since he was 16 years old, and being godfather to her children.cite news|author=Daniel Kilkelly|url=http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/a78140/walford-actor-dreads-romance-scenes.html|title= Walford actor dreads romance scenes|publisher=Digital Spy|date=20 October 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23]

The relationship between the two characters developed quickly from friendship to romance, with Janus commenting that due to her friendship with Maslen; "Our first kissing scene felt really uncomfortable, it was terrible, but we're over it now."cite news|author=Daniel Kilkelly|url=http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/soaps/a86246/walford-actress-struggled-with-kissing-scene.html|title= Walford actress struggled with kissing scene|publisher=Digital Spy|date=19 January 2008|accessdate=2008-01-23] Several media publications commented on the fact that the attraction between the two characters had been obvious, and bound to develop into more than a professional relationship.cite news|author=Grace Dent|url=http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguide/columnists/story/0,,2203147,00.html|title=World of lather|publisher="The Guardian"|date=3 November 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23]

As the character's personality developed, questions were raised over whether his intentions and motivations were good or bad, with Maslen explaining: "I call him amoral; neither good nor bad. He gets what he wants out of the situation but that isn’t necessarily just a selfish thing. He’s not an evil character, but if there are people that are threatening him, his business or his family, he will do whatever he needs to do to eliminate that problem."cite web|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/eastenders/characters_cast/interviews/interview_scott_m.shtml|title=EastEnders Interview|publisher=bbc.co.uk|accessdate=2008-01-23]

It was recently revealed that as part of the current plotline which sees Jack involved in a romantic relationship with sister-in-law Tanya Branning, he and his brother Max will have a fight that will end in one of them being shot. It is set to be one of the biggest Eastenders storylines of 2008.Fact|date=October 2008


When Jack arrived in Walford, it transpired he was the last person to know about the stroke his father, Jim, had suffered. In November 2007, Jack bought the Scarlet nightclub, offering to enter into a partnership with Ronnie Mitchell, who had previously been planning on buying it. Phil Mitchell offered to buy Jack's half, but Jack refused, leading Phil to acquire background information on Jack from a contact.

Phil asked why Jack had left his wife and walked out on his daughter, and why his wife wouldn't allow him to be alone with his daughter. However, Jack also got information on Phil, and claimed to know the whereabouts of his daughter Louise. After discovering that Jack intended to help Phil find his daughter Louise, Ronnie told Jack that she was really proud of what he was doing for her cousin and kissed him under the mistletoe. The two became a couple early in the New Year. Jack later gave Phil Louise's contact information, but neglected to tell Phil that Louise knew a different man as her father. The feud between them continued with Jack blackmailing Phil into selling him the car lot, with help from Darren Miller.

On 21 January, Ronnie visited Jack's ex-wife Selina, wanting to know why she would not let him see his daughter, Penny. During the conversation, it was revealed that Penny was in a wheelchair, paralysed from the waist down. Jack later told Ronnie that this was because he had put a drug dealer in prison, who had in turn taken a contract out on Selina and Penny, who were run over by a car while waiting at a bus stop.

Jack went for a meal with Penny and Selina. She visited him in the club the following day and revealed that she was moving to France with Penny. They had a one-night stand, witnessed by Ronnie's sister Roxy. Ronnie returned a few days later, and she and Jack had sex in the office of the club, but agreed to keep their reunion a secret. However, Ronnie found out about his one-night stand with Selina, and punched him. As further revenge, Roxy trashed Jack's flat in February 2008. When Jack found out that Roxy had done this, he handcuffed her and left her in a remote area alone at night.

In April, Ronnie began to fall for Jack again, as her anger towards him softened. They got back together after his sister-in-law Tanya Branning revealed to Ronnie that she thought Jack was falling in love with her. Jack is currently also paying Tamwar Masood to help Tanya's daughter Lauren with her Maths homework, in the absence of Lauren's father and Jack's brother Max. On 14 April, Ronnie and Jack were getting "Closer" on Jack's sofa when a phone call from Selina interupts. Since the phonecall Penny has come to stay but Ronnie is feeling uneasy around her.

As the end of April approached, Jack began to grow closer to Tanya, and on 25 April, after he'd fallen out with Ronnie after she found out why Jack had sacked Sean Slater from the club, Jack and Tanya came close to a kiss. Later that night, Tanya headed out to call round Jack's, only for him to be at the club, and confronted by Roxy. Roxy was furious with Jack for revealing to Ronnie about Sean's drugs, but their anger soon turned to passion as the pair embarked on a heated debate. The morning after their night of insane passion, Jack and Roxy can't bear to look at each other. He was later stunned when Ronnie revealed that Roxy was pregnant when he was fighting with Sean Slater. Roxy assured Jack that he wasn't the father of her baby and that it was Sean's. However the audience knows this not to be true and that Roxy is unsure which one is the father of her unborn child.

He began spending even more time with Tanya and the kids and it became clear that they were finding it hard to fight the attraction between them. However at the same time Jack seemed uncertain on whether he wanted his relationship with Ronnie to be over, as it seemed there was still something between them both. He was finally forced to make a decision between the two when Ronnie revealed that she was moving back to Ibiza with Roxy and asked Jack to come with her. Jack seemed uncertain of whether or not to leave with Ronnie, until, just before she left, he told her that he couldn't go with her, as he had made a life for himself in Albert Square. Ronnie was heart-broken, but after Jack left her he immediatley went round to Tanya's and told her that being "Uncle Jack" to her and the kids wasn't enough for him anymore and he kissed her. While Tanya initially responded to the kiss, she soon pulled away and seemed horrified at what Jack had done. Jack accused Tanya of being in denial of what was between them and she threw him out of her house. Later on though she had a change of heart and went to see Jack in his flat to apoligise for the way she acted, telling him that she did have feelings for him. The two kissed passionately and slept together, betraying Max. They then embarked on a secret relationship.

He has since acted as a surrogate father to his nieces Lauren and Abi. But Abi misses her real dad Max, and Jack has tried to help her but nothing seemed to work. Max arrived back for his daughter's birthday on 23rd June 2008, much to Jack and Tanya's surprise. Max thanked Jack for looking after Tanya and the kids in his abscence and seeing that Jack had become close to Tanya, asked Jack would he talk to her about taking him back. Jack refused. Later that same day Jack told Tanya on the phone that he was in love with her.

When Tanya reveals to Max that she is seeing his brother Jack, Max confronts him at his home with dramatic consequences. When Tanya discovers them fighting, she decides to choose Jack over Max, despite Max revealing to Jack about Tanya trying to bury him, as Jack already knew - Jack had no sympathy for his brother by stating 'I approved, but she made the mistake by digging you up.' When a sad rejected Max looks on as Jack and Tanya embrace each other, Max sees Bradley and Stacey kissing as they are reunited.

Soon after, Jack met with Max in the park, and Max once again asked him to end his relationship with Tanya for the sake of the children. Jack again refused, saying that he had become close to the kids and he wasn't going anywhere. That same day while Jack and Tanya were talking to Dot Branning in the Queen Vic, Max announced that his brother had"shacked up with his wife" to everyone in the pub. A distressed Dot reminded Jack that she warned him that this would happen. She then requested that nobody tell Jack and Max's father Jim, as it could set him back from his recovery of his stroke.

Max had told Jack and Tanya that he now owned the house which Tanya and their children lived in, Jack called up Ruby Allen and out bid Max so now Jack is the owner of girlfriend, Tanya's, house.

When ex-girlfriend Ronnie returned from Ibiza looking for her sister, she paid Jack a visit to see if he could help her. When Ronnie entered his flat and saw a shirtless Jack, and Tanya in his bathrobe she realised that the two were now an item and remarked to Jack that it hadn't taken him long to get over her. When she explained to Jack the situation with Roxy, he told her that he couldn't help her, which led Ronnie to suggest that the reason for that was because there was no longer anything in it for him. After Ronnie left Jack suggested to Tanya that he should move in with her and the kids, saying that he couldn't afford both the flat and her house. Tanya was shocked and initially seemed unkeen on the idea. Later that day though, after discussing the situation with friend Jane Beale, she met Jack in the Vic and told him that she wanted him to move in. A delighted Jack told her that she wouldn't regret it. As the couple embraced Max walked by and asked Jack if there was anything else of his he would like to take.

While in his flat on the same day, Jack was confronted by an irate Sean Slater, who had returned to the Square and had found out about Tanya and Jack's relationship. Jack cooly dealt with Sean, telling him that he had no chance with Tanya and suggesting he should spend his time trying to find Roxy who was carrying his baby. Sean seemed to take in what Jack had said and set out in search for her. Jack then contacted Ronnie and asked her to meet him at the Club. Thinking it was urgent, Ronnie rushed to meet Jack, but seemed slightly disappointed when Jack told her that he had only wanted to let her know that he was moving in with Tanya and he thought it was best she heard it from him. Ronnie congratulated him, but questioned whether or not he was with Tanya because he loved her, or because he wanted to get one over on Max. Jack told Ronnie that he was with Tanya for the right reasons. Later on as Jack let himself in to his new home with Tanya, Ronnie silently watched him from the bench in the Square looking upset.

A few days later, Jack brought Abi a wheel for her chinchilla Gilbert, which infurated Max, And Lauren returned home from school camp and found Max and Jack fighting. She then found out that Jack had moved in with them. So in a heart to heart with her mum the next day, she told her she accepted the fact of her uncle Jack moving in as she can see he makes her happy.

In September 2008, Tanya tried to find out the reason why his daughter Penny is paralysed as Max inadvertently tried to reveal his dark secret but wanted her to find out herself. Tanya went to Selina's hotel, but she had left. Jack and Tanya then had an argument at Tanya's house as Jack initially refused to tell her the truth about Penny's accident. When he did tell the truth however, she ran out as it was so horrible. She went to Max's flat, who mistakenly thought she wanted to be back with him, only for her to tell him that nothing could separate the couple. Tanya then returned to Jack and told him that she could stay with her, on the condition that there were no more lies between them and that he arranged for them to move out of Walford.


Much media response to the character has centred around Maslen's good looks, with the "Daily Express" commenting: "At last. Someone remotely attractive comes to Albert Square."cite news|url=http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/23513/SOAP-Eastenders-8pm-BBC1|title= SO
publisher=Daily Express"|date=29 October 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23
] "The Mirror" similarly referred to him as "the new hunk on the Square",cite news|author=Tony Stewart|url=http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/tv/soapbox/2008/01/05/sleeping-partners-89520-20274612/|title=Sleeping partners|publisher="The Mirror"|date=5 January 2008|accessdate=2008-01-23] as well as "the hottest property on "EastEnders".cite news|author=Adam Luck|url=http://www.mirror.co.uk/showbiz/latest/2007/11/08/soap-star-reunited-with-dad-89520-20079069/|title=Soap star reunited with dad|publisher="The Mirror"|date=8 November 2007|accessdate=2008-01-23] "Inside Soap" praised Maslen's transition between roles, declaring his performance as Jack to be "flawless".Citation|last=|first=|author-link=|publication-date=2007|date=|year=|title=BEST first impression|periodical=Inside Soap| publication-place=England | place= | publisher= | volume= | issue= | pages= | url= | doi= | oclc= | accessdate=] However, "The Times" were more critical, writing of 2007's New Years Eve episode: "The alleged erotic tension between Ronnie Mitchell (Samantha Janus) and Jack Branning (Scott Maslen) was so underplayed as to be invisible."cite news|author=Kevin Maher|url=http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/tv_and_radio/article3115206.ece|title=EastEnders; Double Time|publisher="The Times"|date=1 January 2008|accessdate=2008-01-23]


External links


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