EastEnders actor Max Bowden has revealed that he wants Ben Mitchell and Callum Highway to be a proper couple, so he can carry on working closely with co-star Tony Clay.
The popular pair, dubbed 'Ballum' by fans, will take centre stage over the next fortnight as Callum faces some big decisions over his future.
Callum is due to marry Whitney Dean (Shona McGarty) next week, but viewers know that he has been fighting his feelings for Ben after their night of passion earlier in the year.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other media at an EastEnders press event, Max – who plays Ben – explained: "I think Callum gives a whole new dynamic to Ben that he needs. It's almost like his moments with Callum drive him to stability and safety.
"Ben is so sporadic, spontaneous and impulsive that something lasts for two minutes then he's onto the next thing.
"But Callum brings this whole new lease of life that I think Ben needs at this point. He needs to feel human again because I think he spent too long not feeling that."
Asked whether he'd like to play the story out for a long time, Max replied: "Listen, if I get to work with Tony Clay every day, then it's a gift.
"There's so much for these two characters to give to each other and I think that it's a really exciting story to tell.
"It's a story of a man coming out and feeling accepted and finding common ground. That is so important to tell and I'm glad we're lucky enough to do it."
However, with Callum in turmoil over his feelings for Ben, the drama surrounding Bianca may not be the only issue which could potentially jeopardise the nuptials.
Asked whether Ben wants Callum to call off the wedding, Max replied: "I think in Ben's head, he's aware of Callum's personal dilemma. At this point, he's not thinking about himself.
"I know that sounds crazy, because Ben is very selfish at times, but I think he actually, genuinely wants Callum to be who he is. That isn't pursuing Whitney and that wedding, that isn't living that lie, and Ben sees that in Callum.
"For the first time Ben is being open and honest since coming back to the Square, and trying to give a man a chance at being himself."
With so much going on, it's fair to say that a storm may be brewing in Albert Square as the various stories collide in dramatic fashion.
Discussing filming the big episodes, Max said: "What I will say about the show at the moment – and those three days filming in particular – is that there's a strong camaraderie among the cast and the crew, with the way we all supported each other.
"It was baking hot those days, but everybody looked after each other and it was a beautiful time.
"It was stressful, of course. But one of my most thrilling moments as an actor was those days, because everybody knew we were doing something great and that was so crucial to making it work."
EastEnders kicks off its big week on Monday, September 2 at 8pm on BBC One.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest EastEnders spoilers, as Mel plans to flee with Hunter, and Callum has something to tell Whitney ahead of their wedding.
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