Why Martin dangled Ben from a bridge when he was a kid – EastEnders feud explained

The boys have got beef going back over a decade

eastenders martin ben 2007 fight

EastEnders bad boy Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) currently has Martin Fowler (James Bye) over a barrel, and is forcing him to do his dirty work in return for keeping quiet about wife Stacey Fowler’s (Lacey Turner) attack on Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).

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Fed up of being his whipping boy, Martin’s mild-mannered demeanour gave way to full-on menacing meltdown on Friday 11thOctober when he finally turned on his tormentor in a violent attack.

Warning Ben not to push him as he was blackmailed over stealing a car (to get gangster family the Panesars off his back), Martin brought up a long-forgotten incident from their past involving a railway bridge.

“I should’ve dropped you off that bridge when I had the chance, face first onto the concrete, done us all a favour,” he hissed. What exactly was he referring to?

Full marks to anyone who remembers this bizarre interlude when Martin kidnapped young Ben…

When did Martin snatch Ben and dangle him from a bridge?

In January 2007, Martin (then played by James Alexandrou) was not in a good place. Mum Pauline had died under suspicious circumstances on Christmas Day (when all Walford family tragedies occur) 2006 and the finger pointed, shockingly, to his wife Sonia.

Accused of causing the aneurysm that killed her mother-in-law by an almighty slap she gave her during a slanging match, Sonia was banned by grieving Martin from seeing Bex (then aged just six, and known as Rebecca).

Desperate to see her little girl, Sonia begged old friend Phil Mitchell for help, who assisted in her snatching Rebecca and going on the run.

What did Phil Mitchell have to do with it?

A riled Martin blamed Phil for letting them get away, and in revenge abducted young Ben (who was only 10, and played by Charlie Jones). The fuming Mr Fowler was a man on the edge – literally – and threatened to throw Ben off the railway bridge over Bridge Street if Phil didn’t reveal Sonia’s whereabouts.

As the whole Square watched in horror (including Stacey, who obviously didn’t realise this ball of rage was her future husband), mad Martin dangled terrified, teary Ben from the railings until Phil called Sonia on his mobile – only for her to hang up – and eventually managed to talk him down and release his stressed son.

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It later turned out Sonia had nothing to do with Pauline’s demise and her creepy second husband Joe Macer had delivered the fatal blow to her bonce. Martin, Sonia and little Rebecca left Walford shortly after, reunited as a happy family – albeit briefly.

We all thought this moment of madness had been forgotten, possibly because Martin and Ben were both played by different actors at the time. But the blokes’ memories are clearly better than some viewers…

It’s also worth noting Ben was being psychologically abused by Phil’s unstable girlfriend Stella Crawford around this time, so Martin’s crazy stunt only added to his distress.

The poor kid didn’t stand a chance  – was this the moment he turned from sweet, ballet-loving little boy to twisted, bitter villain?

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