Here's everything you need to know about EastEnders favourite Max Bowden - better known to soap fans as Walford's Ben Mitchell...
EastEnders fans have been blown away by some terrific performances by Max Bowden as Ben Mitchell ever since Max join the Walford soap last year, making him the sixth Ben!
His on/off relationship with Callum Highway has kept us all on tenterthooks, not to mention the recent Keanu murder plot that is set to come to a climax soon.
But what else makes EastEnders star Max Bowden tick? Here is the lowdown on the 25-year-old actor…
1. Max Bowden played Billy Elliot on stage at 15
Max is apparently highly skilled at tap dancing, which helped him in his role of Billy Elliot in the hit stage musical when he was 15! He’d previously starred in a stage version of Beauty and the Beast.
2. He’s best mates with Danny Hatchard, aka Lee Carter
Before joining EastEnders, Max was already close friends with Danny Hatchard, who played Lee Carter in the soap.
The two friends have enjoyed various nights out on the town together, with Max posting several photos of himself with Danny, who he referred to as his ‘brother’.
3. He previously starred in Waterloo Road
Before finding fame in EastEnders, Max starred in popular BBC1 school drama Waterloo Road, playing Justin Fitzgerald, the wayward son of headteacher Vaughan Fitzgerald (Neil Pearson), in the show’s final series between 2014 and 2015.
While filming on location in Greenock, in Scotland, all the cast were away from home and their families, but Max says Drop The Dead Donkey star Neil was always there for him when he needed help: “He was like a father figure,” Max told The Mirror. “I was still quite young being 18 when I first moved there and Neil was there for me when I needed advice.”
4. He appeared in panto with Steve McFadden when he was nine
Before his role as Phil’s son Ben Mitchell, Max had already played Steve McFadden’s son before – in the Woking pantomime Peter Pan! “That wasn’t the first time I’d worked with Steve! I’d played his son when I was nine in a pantomime in Woking. He didn’t remember me! [The panto was] Peter Pan, he was Hook,” Max once told The Mirror.
5. Max Bowden sings and plays guitar
According to sources, Max is brilliant at accents and has mastered several, including American, Geordie, Irish and Scouse. He’s also a great guitar player and singer to boot, although we haven’t yet seen Ben Mitchell singing karaoke in the Queen Vic just yet…
6. He was bullied at school
Max was bullied at his school in Woking. “I think generally people that work in entertainment have been bullied at one point in their life as we are all a bit different in our own quirky ways,” he told The Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Campaign.
“There were times in school where people would call me names like Billy Elliot in a negative light. I spoke to my family about it who were great, and helped me, it all got resolved from there.
“I separated myself from the people who were bringing me down. By getting involved in after school activities I was able to meet people who had similar interests to me and who liked me for me!”
7. He gets beard rash from kissing co-star Tony Clay
EastEnders fans have adored the ‘Ballum’ storyline with the rollercoaster relationship between Ben and Callum.
During a recent episode, Max revealed he struggled with beard rash after spending two hours shooting a kissing scene with his co-star Tony Clay, who plays Ben’s on/off lover Callum…
He told Attitude: “Tony and I were in a park kissing for about two hours – it was a massive bonding experience. We both had beard rash by the end of it!”
EastEnders airs Monday and Friday at 8pm and Tuesday and Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.