Image caption, Leaving for now but will the Ben Mitchell character return at some stage?
EastEnders actor Max Bowden is leaving his role as Ben Mitchell in the TV series in the new year.
Confirming the move, a BBC spokesperson said: “We wish him all the best for the future.”
He has portrayed the son of Phil Mitchell and Kathy Beale since 2019 – a role previously played by Harry Reid, Charlie Jones and Joshua Pascoe.
It is unclear if his character will be killed off or return at some stage.
Bowden was named soap superstar of 2023 at the Inside Soap Awards.
Since Bowden took over the role, his character’s storylines have included: a descent into criminality, romance with Callum (Tony Clay), rivalries with Keanu Taylor (Danny Walters) and Martin Fowler (James Bye), familial discord with father Phil, and being the victim of a homophobic attack.
His most recently storylines have involved dealing with Lola Pearce-Brown’s (Danielle Harold) death, trying to become involved in the life of their child Lexi and struggling with the eating disorder bulimia.
During the Inside Soap Awards in September, Harold won the best actress award as Lola’s life came to an end following a brain tumour diagnosis.
The Ben Mitchell character first appeared in the BBC series back in 1996 – but that was as ‘infant Ben’ as portrayed by a child actor.
Bowden has also been in Waterloo Road (playing Justin Fitzgerald in the BBC1 series) and appeared on stage in Birdsong and The Haunting Of Alice Bowles.