EastEnders’ star talks upcoming special Ben episode: “He’s feeling very emasculated”

The BBC soap is portraying deafness in a creative way

max bowden ben eastenders

After experiencing problems due to the Thames boat crash, Ben Mitchell has been hearing less and less and an upcoming EastEnders episode will deal with what he is going through by putting the audience in his shoes.


Speaking about being given such a special EastEnders episode, Ben star Max Bowden exclusively told RadioTimes.com: “It was an honour. The thing that made it so exciting was that it was innovative, it was new, and it was something that had never really been done before- focusing on a very underrepresented part of our the community in general.

“So, to be given that opportunity to tell a story about Ben’s character, from his point of view and how his everyday life has changed, was a delight.”

Things have certainly been stressful for Ben of late and as Bowden puts it: “His whole life has been different since the boat crash and his vulnerability is much more apparent. He’s feeling very emasculated, I think.” He went on to add that Ben “doesn’t feel like himself due to his loss of hearing and it’s definitely affecting his relationships with the people he cares about”.

Viewers have seen newcomer Frankie (real-life deaf actress, Rose Ayling-Ellis) try to talk to Ben about living with the condition, something he typically didn’t want to comprehend.

While Ben may not be instantly struck with Frankie, Bowden is a huge fan of the actress that plays her.  “She’s amazing. She’s a superstar. Rose is a wonderful actress, she’s so instinctive, so present. I think Ben and Frankie are a really interesting combination of people.”

WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01 on 10/03/2020 - Programme Name: EastEnders - January - March 2020 - TX: 19/03/2020 - Episode: EastEnders - January - March - 2020 - 6099 (No. 6099) - Picture Shows: ***EMBARGOED TILL TUESDAY 10TH MARCH 2020*** Ben Mitchell (MAX BOWDEN) - (C) BBC - Photographer: Kieron McCarron/Jack Barnes

As for whether this whole experience will change Ben for the better, Bowden remains unsure.

“I think this whole ordeal, in terms of his hearing loss and finding who he is still comfortable with due to it, I think maybe will maybe play a bigger part for him than he will realise. But then Ben’s always been easily strayed, so we’ll see.”


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