EastEnders' Max Bowden shares importance of new project

Former EastEnders star Max Bowden has explained why his new project, Birdsong, is so important.

The actor left the BBC soap earlier this year after five years in the role of Ben Mitchell, before announcing in March that he would star in the latest stage retelling of Sebastian Faulks' novel, which follows two star-crossed lovers during the First World War.

With the BBC commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, Bowden appeared on The One Show to emphasise the importance of recognising and acknowledging past sacrifices, especially through the creative arts.

max bowden in birdsong
Photo Credit: Michael Wharley

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"The arts gives us accessibility to the history of our country in a way that maybe conversation can't," he told hosts Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas. "Seeing the human beings that actually served and their emotional capacity is what makes it so powerful.

"Ultimately, these heroes... yes, of course they're heroes, but they're men, would have been me and you," he continued as he gestured to Jenas. "Their stories back home are so different - not seeing their wives and their kids for so long, yet still fighting and trying to keep the peace and love between the comrades.

"It's so important and I think Birdsong tells that story brilliantly."

Bowden, who had previously appeared in a production of Birdsong back in 2016, previously released a statement upon the announcement of his latest stage role, saying: "I'm so excited to be collaborating with [producers] Original Theatre again on a project close to my heart.

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"Birdsong highlights the tragedy of war, yet the beauty of humanity simultaneously through strong relationships under extreme circumstances, and I can't wait to bring Jack Firebrace to life under their guidance."

"Max joined us to play the character of Tipper, a young soldier, in the 2016 tour of Birdsong and now, the best part of a decade later, returns to play the wonderful role of Jack Firebrace," added director Alastair Whatley. "I cannot wait to get back in the rehearsal room with Max to explore one of Sebastian's most unforgettable characters."

EastEnders airs on Mondays - Thursdays at 7.30pm on BBC One. The show also streams on BBC iPlayer, where most episodes drop early at 6am ahead of their TV broadcast.

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