EastEnders’ Harry Reid tells Soaplife how Ben ends up getting hurt when he tries to play it straight – and how he’s going to hurt others!

Ben Mitchell is finally getting along with his dad Phil (Steve McFadden), but it comes at a price. Desperate to prove he is a real Mitchell, Ben tries to pretend that he’s not gay by dating Abi, while secretly fancying Johnny Carter.

“Phil is creating a ‘mini me’ – Ben has even started wearing denim shirts,” says Harry. “He can’t be gay and a Mitchell. Ben would like a secret gay life as it is better for his image if he’s seen with a girl by his side.” It can only end in tears…

What is going on with Ben and his sexuality?
“He’s a very confused young man. I think it is difficult to build a life when most of it so far has been spent inside a juvenile detention centre. It is important for Ben that he doesn’t fall out with Phil again. He wants to prove he’s a Mitchell and that means appearing to be straight, as Phil is very much the opposite of a gay man.“

Why does Ben choose Abi (Lorna Fitzgerald) to date?
“Ben does love Abi, there’s no doubt about that, but he also wants someone he can manipulate. He knows from experience that women like Sharon destroy things and he wants a woman he can boss around. Because Ben and Abi have quite a tight friendship, he finds it easy to be with her.”

Does Abi suspect that Ben prefers men?
“I’ve got to say, Abi is a very confused girl. When Ben kisses her, she’s like, ‘Oh, he kissed me, he loves me, we should be together forever and get married and have children’. She doesn’t really have a clue what’s going on and when your bloke’s eyeing up other geezers, you have to start asking questions.”

So he’ll be Abi’s boyfriend for appearances sake?
“Yes, Ben is a conniving bloke. At the same time as being with Abi, he’s very interested in Johnny [Sam Strike]. “

He even tries to kiss him!
“And Johnny rejects him. He knows the trouble that comes with getting involved with Ben Mitchell. I think Johnny likes Ben and fancies him a little bit. However, he knows Ben is confused and is giving him mixed signals.”

Abi almost sees him kiss Johnny, doesn’t she?
“Yes. There’s a bit of a scuffle because Ben starts calling Johnny names when he realises Abi’s watching. He says some really offensive stuff about his sexuality and Lee [Danny-Boy Hatchard] hears Ben and thumps him.”

Did Ben kill Lucy?
“I don’t think he’d be stupid enough to get out of prison and kill again. If he did it, I hope he doesn’t get caught, as I will be out of a job. I think it would be an interesting twist if he did it, but I can’t really see him being the killer.”

EastEnders, BBC1. Click here for dates and times.