EastEnders will next week air a harrowing set of episodes which see Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) raped by seemingly charming barman Lewis Butler.
The storyline has been heavily signposted and will start a devastating journey for Ben – and Aidan O’Callaghan, who plays the sinister attacker, has explained that the issue has needed a lot of exploration and preparation to get right.
It’s absolutely inevitable that Lewis will cause a huge amount of controversy in the show, particularly as the character was so seemingly likeable.
But Aidan has explained that it’s important for the character to have been built up this way as more often than not, sexual predators hide behind perfectly normal facades.
‘You want to build up that character. You want to have an idea of the storyline that’s coming.
‘But some parts of the building of that character mean you have to forget [what’s coming down the track for Lewis].
‘You want people to see depth to that character. We were working closely to ensure the arc is built.’
And it is Aidan’s firm belief that sexuality should only be one aspect of any fictional character, including his alter ego.
Explaining that he knew from the outset what his character’s role in the show would be and that it involved a lot of work with charities, he added to Irish Examiner: ‘You want to portray a character where sexuality is not a massive thing.
‘You want to represent. You also want to portray the sense that: here’s Lewis and sexuality is one part of him. You’re constantly trying to juggle those things.
‘It’s the importance of showing a complex character and multiple parts of him.’
A broken and struggling Ben will head home with Lewis but when he changes his mind about having sense, the sinister attacker refuses to stop.
In the wake of the rape, he will continue to gaslight Ben, insisting that what happened was consensual and that ben played the main role in initiating it.
In a vastly different role, Aidan has been filming The Witcher: Blood Origin in which he plays the character of Kareg.
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