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The following article contains discussion of themes including sexual assault that some readers may find upsetting.
EastEnders spoilers follow.
EastEnders star Max Bowden has revealed that he avoided co-star Aidan O'Callaghan while filming Ben Mitchell's rape storyline.
Next week will see the soap air harrowing scenes as Max's character Ben is sexually assaulted by bar manager Lewis (Aidan).
Speaking about working with his fellow star amid the storyline, Max explained he wasn't fully aware of where the storyline was going when Aidan first joined EastEnders.
"I didn't know but I think perhaps Aidan did," he told Digital Spy and other media. "It had been pitched to me about ten months ago but [I wasn't] sure when it was going to come in.
"It was still in discussion and then it had to go through clearances so has been a long process. It wasn't until Aidan came in that I realised the story was actually happening."
Speaking of how this informed his approach to playing the scenes, Max said he was "probably a bit of an arse really".
"I deliberately kept my distance from him for about six weeks, just because I didn't want to find myself in a position where we'd become personally close," he explained. "I thought it would make everything that happens afterwards really difficult if we did.
"I said to him after we'd finished the scene, 'I just want you to know that I am not an arsehole, I was just doing this because of X, Y and Z'. After that, we had a good chat and got on really well. It was a choice and I did feel quite bad for doing it, but I think it helped."
EastEnders airs on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One and streams on BBC iPlayer.
If you've been affected by the topics raised in this story, then numerous organisations can offer help and support including SurvivorsUK (0203 598 3898 or firstname.lastname@example.org), Survivors Manchester (0808 800 5005 or email@example.com) and the Male Survivors Partnership (0808 800 5005 or firstname.lastname@example.org). In an emergency, please dial 999.
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