The character of Ben Mitchell may be a prime suspect in the Lucy Beale murder case, but there’s one person who’s desperately hoping it doesn’t turn out to be him.
“I’m worried that if Ben is the killer, then it might make my time on the show a bit limited,” actor Harry Reid says to RadioTimes.com. “I’d certainly be hoping that he doesn’t get caught.”
What we do know is that – during the fateful night that Lucy was killed – Ben was out of prison and robbing an off licence with the help of best buddy Jay Brown.
Ben had, of course, only just been released after serving time for the murder of Heather Trott. So the big question is: does Ben now have a taste for homicide? And it’s not just fans who’ve put him in the frame – professional private investigators have recently been quoted as saying that Ben is guilty…
“There is a possibility that Ben could be Lucy’s murderer. I’m not going to rule it out,” admits Reid. “But it would be a shame if the next big event was for him to kill someone again. It would destroy possible stories for Ben. I want to see him toughen up and fight men. He is a Mitchell at the end of the day. I want him to start showing people what he’s made of. So, no, I don’t want him to be involved in the murder.”
But if it’s not Ben, then who is going to be exposed as the killer? “Personally, I think that Jane is massively involved,” says the actor, who’s only too willing to turn detective to deflect suspicion away from Ben. “But I think the wildcard is either Cindy or Bobby – with Jane covering it up. That’s my most out-there possibility – other than it being Dot!”
Fans have less than a week to go before they find the answer out for themselves, with EastEnders set to solve its long-running whodunnit with a special ‘live week’ of episodes. So how does Reid feel about performing without a safety net in front of millions of viewers?
“Well, I’ve dried on stage, but there’s so much room for improvisation in theatre. I can run around, do a dance and distract the audience for a while. But if I decide to walk off on a live EastEnders, I’ll be out of shot and the camera will be on a blank wall.
“So I am nervous about it, simply because there’s no real room for error. But I’m aiming to smash it as much as I can.”
And if it does all go wrong on the night and he forgets his lines? “I’ll just say that I killed Lucy. And we can end the episode there. Duff-duff-duff. If it does go wrong, expect that. A short ten-minute episode. And I might even improvise a monologue after the confession.”
As for Ben’s future on the Square, is Reid worried that the lad has been letting Phil down while his dad has been languishing in prison? After all, Ben’s naivety has already seen him lose the Arches to Max Branning and get a pasting from Charlie Cotton. Is there a chance that he might finally get to wise up?
“What Ben hasn’t realised is that when he’s in a time of need, he isn’t going to get any outside help. He’s a Mitchell and nobody likes the Mitchells. As loyal as they are to each other, people who aren’t in the family don’t like them.
“So yes, he has had the wool pulled over his eyes lately. But he’s an 18-year-old boy who’s spent four years of his life in the nick. So people are going to try and take advantage of him because he is a little bit thick!
“But he is meant to be the new Phil – and you can’t have a wussy Phil. It just doesn’t work. But he’ll learn from this. He’ll end up savvy.”
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