EastEnders revealed to viewers tonight that Ben Mitchell is alive. A bloodied Ben surfaced in Walford and was informed of boyfriend Paul’s death.
In last night’s (18 July) episode of the soap, Ben’s father Phil (Steve McFadden) and half-brother Ian (Adam Woodyatt) received word that Ben had been admitted to hospital with critical injuries, following his involvement in a fight.
The pair dashed to the hospital where a doctor broke the news to them that the man they had been treating, believed to be Ben, had died from his injuries. However, Ian and Phil were shocked when they were taken to view Ben’s body and were shown the bruised corpse of his boyfriend Paul Coker (Jonny Labey) instead.
The hard-hitting plot continued in tonight’s (19 July) instalment of the saga with Phil demanding to know how the mix-up had occurred and fretting over Ben’s whereabouts, after he was last seen heading off on a night out with Paul in Friday’s episode.
A badly beaten Ben (Harry Reid) eventually surfaced in Walford and revealed that he and Paul were mugged and found themselves separated while making their escape – but has he divulged the full story?
With Ben unaware of Paul’s death, Phil shared the news with him, but caused Ben to lash out by describing Paul only as his ‘friend’. Ben then broke down in the arms of mum Kathy (Gillian Taylforth) while Phil also stepped in to comfort his son.
Across the Square, Pam (Lin Blakley) and Les Coker (Roger Sloman) were given the terrible news that their grandson is dead with much of the episode focusing on Pam’s denial of it.
As the Cokers waited at the hospital to identify the deceased person, a fragile Pam reminisced about Paul when he was younger and prayed that the body they were about to view isn’t his. Pam was left heartbroken when, upon seeing the body, she could no longer refuse to accept Paul’s death.
As the Cokers returned home, Pam shut herself away in Paul’s bedroom where she broke down, while Les, who had been trying to stay strong for Pam, was overcome with emotion outside.
Speaking about Paul’s death, Labey, who’ll be starring in stage play Verge of Strife from next month, told RadioTimes:
“When I heard all the details I was shocked, at first, as it was my exit storyline. But the storyline is beautifully written and the build-up to it is great. I was told about all of these things happening and saw that it all took place over a few episodes: it’s incredible to have a week dedicated to your character. A lot of the really emotional stuff happens after I leave and all of my last scenes are very happy. It was quite strange because Lin [Blakley] and Roger [Sloman] were filming a lot of the reactive parts and then coming back to film all the upbeat stuff with me. It was quite odd! But watching Lin and Roger do their scenes was really hard.”