EastEnders star issues statement as gay character Ben Mitchell exits soap

EastEnders actor Max Bowden has shared a statement as fans await the departure of his character, gay tough guy Ben Mitchell.

The actor’s exit from the British soap was confirmed by a BBC spokesperson at the end of last year, and recent scenes have built up to Ben’s inevitable onscreen downfall.

Viewers of the soap watched episodes this week as Ben was arrested while at a birthday party for his husband, Callum. The car mechanic is currently facing extradition to America to face charges of credit-card fraud.

He had travelled to the country last year in a last-minute bid to secure drugs that he hoped would extend the life of brain-tumour-stricken Lola Pearce, the mother of his daughter.

Max Bowden as Ben Mitchell in Eastenders
Ben Mitchell is set for a long spell in prion.  

Despite begging his father Phil and dodgy lawyer Ritchie to help get him out the slammer, it appears Ben, who’s been locked up before, will be going away for a long time, with scenes set to air tonight (28 March) potentially being his last.

In a post on Instagram, Bowden shared a statement about his time on the long-running BBC soap.

“It’s been one hell of a ride. Thanks for taking Ben to your hearts and allowing my version into your lives,” he wrote.

“I had an amazing five years at @bbceastenders and learnt a hell of a lot about myself and the craft I love so dearly. It got me through some very hard personal times and I will be for ever grateful.

“I really will never be able to thank everybody for the support enough, because the fans of the show are so passionate, caring and invested, and it enables us, as actors, to want to keep going and always be better.

“So, I really do from the bottom of my heart appreciate every single person who has sent any sort of positivity my way over the [past] five years. I love you all.”

He added that “Ben Mitchell 6.0” was “over and out” – he is the sixth actor to take on the role of Albert Square’s most unlikely bad boy, having joined the cast in 2019.

In response, Rob Kazinsky, Walford’s Sean Slater, said: “Well done, mate, you did a hell of a job.” And Ricky Champ, who played Ben’s on-screen brother-in-law Stuart, said: “Great job bro! Well done. You smashed it xxx. See you on the outside.”

Ben has become an internet meme for the LGBTQ+ community over the years, with one clip of him as a child, dancing to “LoveGame” by Lady Gaga, regularly doing the rounds online.

Other storylines for the character have included coming out to his hard man dad, the homophobic murder of his boyfriend Paul Coker, being the victim of male rape, and the killing of Heather Trott.

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