Ben Mitchell is to be left torn when Abi Branning reveals that she’s pregnant. Ben – who is trying to conceal his love for Paul Coker – will be seen reeling when Abi drops her baby bombshell in scenes to be broadcast this Friday. But who will he opt to be with: lover Paul or girlfriend Abi?
“Ben is very alone with his problems and his issues,” admits actor Harry Reid. “Essentially, what he really wants is a happy life with Paul. But that just isn’t going to happen. And this baby is an opportunity to be the man he’s always aspired to be in Phil’s eyes. Phil wants this macho Mitchell and here is a chance for Ben to be that man.”
In the end, Ben decides that he’s going to be a better dad to his baby than Phil has been to him. But his decision to stand by Abi looks set to leave Paul gutted. “Ben’s thinking that he can play happy families and still have Paul in the background. Ben’s greedy – but it’s very difficult because the kid is so mixed up.
“Ben could be living in this nice country home with his wife, but hen would jump on the first good-looking bloke that walked past the window. He’s always going to be tempted until he’s allowed to do what he wants to do.”
But is accompanying Abi to her doctor’s appointment and preparing for the birth of his son really the right path for Ben to choose? If Ben was Reid’s friend, what would he advise him to do?
“When he left, Johnny Carter sent Ben a postcard that said, ‘Be Yourself’. And that’s it. There’s nothing else to say to Ben other than ‘be yourself’. I can quite relate to Ben’s story because I when I said I wanted to be an actor, my dad – who’s quite old school – told me that he wasn’t going to have his son on stage dancing.
“But once he’d seen my work, he was chuffed to bits and now he’s the proudest dad around. And for me, that’s essentially Ben’s relationship with Phil. Ben wants to be gay, Phil knows it but isn’t going to stand for it and you’re just yelling at Ben to be honest. But he’s got Phil Mitchell in the way, so it’s tough.”
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of EastEnders below.
And visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.