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EastEnders star played Steve McFadden’s son years before playing Ben Mitchell

EastEnders actor Max Bowden has revealed that he played co-star Steve McFadden's son years before he was cast as Ben Mitchell.

Max, who is the sixth actor to take on the role as Phil Mitchell's son, also admitted that he had no idea he was playing Ben until he turned up for his first day of filming.

Asked whether he was nervous when he first met Steve, who plays Phil, he said: "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."

Sadly, Max said that Steve didn't remember but he was quickly thrown in the "deep end" with their first scenes together.

"All day was in the Mitchell house, which was good to do in that way, I think, because we got it over and done with all in one day," he said.

"It felt established, it felt like relationships could start to build from day one rather than kind of work with certain people one day and then others another week.

"So it was definitely daunting. That day was terrifying!"

When Max first auditioned, it wasn't for the role of Ben Mitchell and he originally thought he was playing someone called 'Tyler'.

He said: "So originally, I think we pinned it as Tyler so it was all very discrete and all very top secret and then I got it and they had their Christmas holidays – I think you broke on the day I got cast.

"And I came in on the first day they got back and then they said, ‘Alright, we weren’t totally honest with you – you’re not playing Tyler, you’re playing Ben Mitchell, you’re free to walk away now.’

"But it was terrifying because it was such a well-known, established show and it’s a well-established character.

"I think it made it more exciting because there was all this heritage and all of this kind of familiarity from an audience perspective that you had so much history to work with that, for an actor, that’s what you look for, you want to see where you’ve been and then where they’re going, so it was exciting."

EastEnders airs Mondays and Fridays at 8pm, and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30pm on BBC One.

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