*This article contains discussions of sexual assault which may be upsetting for some readers*


Next week in Walford will see the start of a devastating new storyline for Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) as he is raped by newcomer Lewis Butler (Aidan O'Callaghan). The soap is liaising with the charity Survivors Manchester in portraying the tough new plot.

There's also a tough time ahead for the Slaters when Stacey (Lacey Turner) struggles over mum Jean's (Gillian Wright) care, and young Lily (Lillia Turner) takes the strain.

Stuart Highway (Ricky Champ) makes a confession over baby son Roland, while Lola Pearce (Danielle Harold) makes an error in the wake of some upsetting news. Rocky Cotton (Brian Conley) remains determined to make things up to Sonia Fowler (Natalie Cassidy), and Sam Mitchell (Kim Medcalf) piles the pressure onto Denise Fox (Diane Parish).

Here's all you need to know about EastEnders from 23rd - 26th May 2022.

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1. Ben is raped by Lewis


With Ben's husband Callum Highway (Tony Clay) furious that Ben told Lewis all about his vigilante actions, the couple have a furious row. Alone and drinking, Ben finds Lewis on a dating app and arranges to meet him, all while Callum is looking after Lexi - who wonders where has dad is. Drunk Ben flirts with Lewis at the Albert, and it seems as though the pair are going to sleep together.

But when Ben sees a selfie sent to him by Callum and Lexi, he has second thoughts and tries to leave. Lewis refuses to let him, and proceeds to rape Ben. The next day, a traumatised Ben can't process what's happened and when Callum hears about their partying, he asks him outright if he slept with Lewis. Ben is unable to deny it and Callum walks out. Later in the week, Ben tries to tell Callum how much he loves him. Will he find the strength to admit what Lewis has done?

2. Jean's demands become too much


With a fragile Jean adamant that she only wants granddaughter Lily to look after her, Stacey doesn't know what to do. She insists that Lily cannot skip school to care for her nan, but seeing how much Jean responds to her, Stacey reluctantly relents.

Harvey Monroe (Ross Boatman) finally visits Jean and they end up doing a jigsaw together. But as the week continues, Jean refuses to be looked after by Stacey at all, but after a chat with Kat (Jessie Wallace), Stacey puts her foot down over Lily. Will Stacey decide that Jean needs to return to hospital - and will she realise just how affected Lily has become over all that has happened?

3. Stuart makes an admission to Rainie


When Rainie finds some pills that Stuart has tried to get rid of, she realises her husband has been lying about taking his painkillers. She's baffled as to why he would pretend he's addicted again, but Stuart avoids her questions by rushing off to his chemotherapy appointment. However, he later tells Rainie the truth.

She is heartbroken when Stuart says he has no feelings towards baby Roland, and heads outside for some air. Bumping into Mitch baker (Roger Griffiths), Rainie lies about the cause of her despair, claiming it's down to the pressures of new motherhood. But how will she and Stuart move forward now that he's made such a huge declaration? EastEnders is working with the charities PANDAS and Mind to ensure Stuart's battle with male postnatal depression is portrayed accurately.

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4. Lola's heartbreak


Following boyfriend Isaac Baptiste (Stevie Basaula) leaving for Trinidad a few weeks ago, Lola is distraught when she learns that he isn't coming home and has met someone else. As Honey Mitchell (Emma Barton) overhears Lola's conversation, she ends up singing partner Jay Brown's (Jamie Borthwick) praises.

But when Lola spots Jay chatting to Frankie Lewis (Rose Ayling-Ellis), she projects her own problems onto him by accusing him of betraying Honey, making a scene in front of Frankie's old friend Clara. When Jay assures Lola he isn't cheating on Honey, Lola breaks down and reveals that Isaac has dumped her. Feeling guilty about her outburst, Lola takes Frankie for a drink and they bond, with Lola encouraging Frankie not to give up on her photography ambitions. Will things start looking up for the new pals?

5. Rocky wants a second chance

eastenders rocky cant

Sonia is still unwilling to forgive Rocky over his conman behaviour, but it's been clear for some time that Rocky has a big heart and deeply regrets what he did. Next week, when he hears Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) discussing his celebratory plans for the upcoming Jubilee with Sonia and Kathy Beale (Gillian Taylforth), Rocky once again puts his foot in it where Sonia is concerned.

Desperate to make things up to her, Rocky tries to persuade Sonia to join him in helping with plans for the event, but Sonia's refusal only makes him more determined. He wants to prove that he means what he says, and pushes on with his ideas for the Jubilee - but will Rocky ever manage to patch things up?

6. Sam steps up her scheming


When Honey firmly informs Sam she must move out as soon as possible, Sam pressures Denise to get her the money Phil put into the salon. In turn, with Jonah still around, Kat instructs Sam to secure the finds to buy Ruby's club.

Later, Sam has a meeting with Ritchie (Sian Webber) over the matter of Denise's money. This results in Ritchie issuing a big threat to Denise - but what is it? Whatever it is, it's something that Denise won't be able to brush aside.

You can find help and support in connection with the issues discussed above by visiting survivorsmanchester.org.uk, pandasfoundation.org.uk and mind.org.uk.

Visit our dedicated EastEnders page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV Guide.


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