Max Bowden smiles with Ben Mitchell from EastEnders in a circle cut out in the top right-hand corner (Credit: Shutterstock/BBC/Comp ED!)

Max Bowden addresses EastEnders exit ahead of Ben Mitchell departure as his next role is announced

His exit from EastEnders airs this week

EastEnders will say goodbye to Ben Mitchell this week as Max Bowden bows out of the role after five years. And despite remaining silent so far, Max has finally addressed his exit on social media.

But he won’t be out of work for long as his first role following his departure has already been revealed.

Ben is not coming back (Credit: BBC)

Max Bowden ‘axed’ from EastEnders as Ben Mitchell

When it was said Ben was leaving, The Sun, suggested the actor met up with bosses who decided not to renew his contract. They claimed execs had expressed concern over his private life hitting headlines.

“There has been a lot of noise around him for a bit too long and that can take away from the drama on the show,” the source said.

“He went in for a meeting as his contract was up for renewal next year. No one knew how it was going to go and following discussions, it was decided that he would leave. Bosses have yet to plan his exit storyline but Ben is not a character that they would kill off as we’ve already seen in all the previous recasts.”

Max started to date co-star Shona McGarty in May 2022, at the time his ex-partner Roisin Buckle was pregnant with his child. Roisin has since said she thought they were just taking time apart. Max and Shona also split soon after going public.

Meanwhile, a BBC spokesperson said: “We wish him all the best for the future.”

Ben Mitchell star Max Bowden poses with his award at the Inside Soap Awards
Max’s incarnation of Ben Mitchell was popular with fans (Credit: Cover Images)

Max speaks out

Despite not commenting on the rumours before now, Max Bowden has finally addressed his EastEnders exit on social media. Posting a picture of himself as Ben, Max reached out to his followers.

“Well guys, it’s that time!” he said. “It’s been one hell of a ride!

“Thanks for taking Ben to your hearts and allowing my version into your lives. I had an amazing five years at EastEnders and learnt a hell of a lot about myself and the craft I love so dearly; it got me through some very hard personal times and I will be forever grateful!”

Max continued: “I really will never be able to thank everybody for the support enough, because the fans of the show are so passionate, caring, and invested and it enables us as actors to want to keep going and always be better; so I really do from the bottom of my heart appreciate every single person who has sent any sort of positivity my way over the last five years – I love you all.”

He finished his post adding: “Ben Mitchell 6.0, over and out. Goodbye EE! I’ll miss you all.”

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A post shared by Max Bowden (@bowden5)

As his co-stars including Jamie Borthwick (Jay Brown), Tony Clay (Callum Highway) and Jacqueline Jossa all congratulated him on his time on the soap, other fans reacted with anger over his departure.

“This guy should have never left his role as Ben Mitchell. Best actor EastEnders has ever had!!!” wrote one.

Another agreed: “The best Ben Mitchell there ever was!”

“You are to Ben Mitchell what David Tennant is to Dr Who. . . The best version,” shared one more.

And a fourth said: “There won’t be a better Ben Mitchell. EastEnders have truly [bleeped] this up. You deserve better than what they gave you.”

Considered a flight risk, Ben was refused bail (Credit: BBC)

Ben’s exit

Ben is not being killed off, but he has been arrested for credit card fraud during his time in America.

Tonight’s episode (Wednesday March 27) saw him denied bail. It meant he couldn’t go ahead with his and Phil’s plan to flee with Lexi. Lawyer Richie told Callum: “I’m sorry, Ben ain’t coming home.”

But is this the last we’ll see of him? Tomorrow night the fallout from his arrest continues for the Mitchell family, but will the die-hard Ballum fans, get the final scene between Ben and Callum they so desperately deserve?

Meanwhile, other fans have called for Ben to be recast once again following Max’s exit. He was the sixth actor to play Ben, but EastEnders has given no information on whether there could be a seventh!

New role for Max Bowden after EastEnders exit

Meanwhile, Max has revealed his next role following his EastEnders farewell. He is joining the 30th anniversary tour of play Birdsong as Jack Firebrace. A sapper on the frontline, deeply loyal with a big heart.

Speaking on the show’s official social media account, Max said: “I’m so excited to be collaborating with Original Theatre again on a project close to my heart. Birdsong highlights the tragedy of war, yet the beauty of humanity simultaneously through strong relationships under extreme circumstances, and I can’t wait to bring Jack Firebrace to life under their guidance.”

Read more: Who is leaving EastEnders this year?

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EastEnders usually airs Monday to Thursday at 7.30pm on BBC One.

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Carena Crawford
Associate Editor (Soaps)