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EastEnders’ Max Bowden reveals why he couldn’t bond with Aidan O’Callaghan

WHILE their characters may be feuding on screens, soap stars often form friendly bonds once the cameras are switched off.

However, EastEnders star Max Bowden admitted he struggled to do so with Aidan O’Callaghan due to their shared male rape storyline.

Aidan O'Callaghan and Max Bowden are part of a new male rape storyline in EastEnders

Aidan O’Callaghan and Max Bowden are part of a new male rape storyline in EastEndersCredit: BBC
The Ben Mitchell actor spoke to The Sun about upcoming scenes

The Ben Mitchell actor spoke to The Sun about upcoming scenesCredit: BBC
He came clean about his struggle to bond with the Cork actor behind the scenes

He came clean about his struggle to bond with the Cork actor behind the scenesCredit: BBC

Forever ready to smash the stigma around difficult topics and break the boundaries, EastEnders bosses have decided to tackle male rape with the help of characters Ben Mitchell and Lewis Butler.

Speaking to The Sun and other press, actor Max Bowden admitted that he knew the storyline had been in the works for several months.

“It had been pitched to me about ten months ago”, he said, “we weren’t really sure when it was going to come in.”

However, it became clear the storyline was set to start soon once Cork actor Aidan O’Callaghan had his first day on the set.

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The Witcher star was cast as Prince Albert manager and bartender Lewis Butler with whom Ben Mitchell has been getting close in recent episodes of the BBC One drama.

But when filming for the rape storyline began, with the help of an intimacy coordinator during shooting, Max had no intention of taking a leaf from his on-screen alter ego’s book.

Max confessed he kept his distance from Aidan for six weeks.

“I did feel quite bad for doing it. “I was probably a bit of an a***”, he said.

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Before fans believe there was any form of tension behind the scenes, Max explained that he consciously made the decision to stay away from Aidan.

“I really kept my distance from him for about six weeks just because I didn’t want to find myself in a position where we’d become really close.”

He insisted: “I thought it would make everything really difficult.”

But when their harrowing scenes together were wrapped up, Max eventually explained to Aidan why he stayed away and was pleased when the latter didn’t hold a grudge.

Both actors “got on really well” once the scene was filmed.

“He was really appreciative”, Max recalled, “we had a really good chat and got on really well.”

The actor also expressed that both him and Aidan shared a “duty to tell the story correctly”, frightened of getting it all wrong.

Dark times are ahead for Ben Mitchell and the character will find it hard to get the support he longs for amid the ordeal.

Most of his loved ones – including husband Callum Highway (played by Tony Clay) – will turn their backs on him as the stigma around male rape, particularly in the gay community, remains strong.

However, concerning signs that Ben has gone through the worst will soon be noticed by other residents, who are likely to fly to the rescue.

“People that know him are seeing that something’s not quite right”, Max continued.

“People that know him start to unravel the pieces of the puzzle. He’s not grooming himself anymore and looks quite dishevelled.”

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How will Ben cope through the ordeal?

EastEnders airs from Monday to Thursday on BBC One.

With his marriage falling apart, Ben Mitchell's future looks bleak

With his marriage falling apart, Ben Mitchell’s future looks bleakCredit: BBC
Will he find the support he needs?

Will he find the support he needs?Credit: BBC