EastEnders’ Ben Mitchell: A history of actors, abuse, and identity struggles

The heir to the Mitchell throne has been played by six different actors, including current Ben Mitchell, Max Bowden.

Ben Mitchell in EastEnders has been played by six different actors since his first appearance in the show back in 1996.

Now Ben is played by Max Bowden, who joined EastEnders in 2019.

Ben is the son of Phil Mitchell and Kathy Beale. He had meningitis as a baby and was left partially deaf as a result.

When he was still a tot, Ben left Walford with mum Kathy and went to live in South Africa.

When Kathy was killed (or so everyone thought) in a car accident in 2006, Ben returned and after a custody battle between his big brother Ian and his dad. He soon moved in with Phil and became the latest addition to the Mitchell clan.

Ben Mitchell and his abuse by Stella Crawford

In 2006, Ben – now played by Charlie Jones – got a new stepmother-to-be when Phil met Stella Crawford. Stella was nice as pie on the surface, but behind Phil’s back, she was busy making poor Ben’s life a misery.

Read more: Soap spoilers: EastEnders storylines for next week revealed in pictures

Stella was very cruel to Ben. She physically hurt him – even burning him with a hot spoon – and threatened to kill his dad if Ben told him what she was doing.

Ben Mitchell Charlie Jones
Ben was abused by Phil’s fiancee Stella (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

On Phil and Stella’s wedding day, Ben finally stood up for himself. As his dad was about to exchange vows with Ben’s tormentor, the little lad got to his feet and begged someone to help him.

He revealed all to his horrified dad and after a dramatic confrontation between the bride and groom, Stella took her own life.

Ben Mitchell v Jordan Johnson

When Phil’s daughter Louise came to live with him, she and Ben Mitchell in EastEnders were soon at loggerheads. Ben began tormenting his little sister in the same way Stella had abused him.

Ben Mitchell Charlie Jones
Ben attacked Jordan with a spanner (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

When Phil found out, Ben told him he was reacting badly to being bullied by Jordan Johnson.

Phil advised Ben to fight back and Ben took him at his word, whacking poor Jordan with a spanner and fracturing his skull. Ben was sentenced to eight months in a young offenders’ prison.

Ben and his sexuality

When Ben Mitchell in EastEnders was released from prison – now played by Joshua Pascoe – he started to struggle with his sexuality.

He shared his first kiss with a friend from the gym called Duncan but when he was spotted by Patrick Trueman he threw a brick through Patrick’s window, hoping to intimidate him into keeping quiet.

Ben slept with Lola Pearce and he realised he was definitely gay. When Lola found out she was pregnant she at first denied that Ben was the father of her baby.

Lola is the mother of Ben’s daughter Lexi (Credit: BBC)

When Ben confessed to Phil that he thought he was gay, Phil initially reacted badly, leaving Ben heartbroken.

Ben began a vendetta against Phil, reminding him of his past crimes and eventually telling the police his dad killed Stella. Phil was arrested for murder but when Ian found out Ben had lied, he told the police the truth.

Ben the killer

Ben mistakenly believed that Heather Trott was the one who’d told the police he’d lied. He confronted Hev, and ended up hitting her with a photograph frame and killing her.

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At first, Phil helped his son cover up his crime.

But heartbroken Shirley Carter – Heather’s best friend, and Phil’s girlfriend – was on a mission to solve the crime. At first she thought Phil could have been the killer but when she confronted him, Ben confessed.

The youngster admitted his crime and was sent back to prison. When he was first behind bars, Lola visited and told him he was daughter Lexi’s dad.

Ben’s return and Paul Coker

In 2014, Ben came back to the Square, now played by Harry Reid. Still struggling with his sexuality, he started a relationship with childhood friend Abi Branning but when he met Paul Coker, he fell in love.

Paul and Ben made plans for their future and were going to take over the funeral parlour from Paul’s grandparents Les and Pam Coker.

Ben and Paul (Credit: BBC/YouTube)

But Paul was murdered on a night out, leaving Ben heartbroken.

He got involved with Luke Browning – son of rapist James Wilmott Brown – but was sickened when he discovered Luke’s true identity. After getting mixed up with Aidan Maguire and a heist, Ben ran to France.


Ben came back to the Square in 2019, played by Max Bowden. He had an immediate attraction to Callum Highway, who was engaged to Whitney Dean.

EastEnders spoilers tonight
Will Ballum live happily ever after? (Credit: BBC)

When Callum told Whitney he had kissed Ben, she called off their wedding. And after a dramatic hostage situation involving Hunter Owen, Callum and Ben became a couple.

They’re a huge favourite with fans, who love the couple they call Ballum. The pair are currently preparing to walk down the aisle but will they make it official?

Do you think Ballum will say their vows? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know.

Kerry Barrett
Freelance Soap Writer