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EastEnders to air episode charting Ben Mitchell’s hearing difficulties

The soap worked with the National Deaf Children’s Society on the storyline.

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Max Bowden stars as Ben Mitchell (Ian West/PA)

Max Bowden stars as Ben Mitchell (Ian West/PA)

Max Bowden stars as Ben Mitchell (Ian West/PA)

An upcoming episode of EastEnders will be set from the point of view of Ben Mitchell as he struggles with the deterioration of his hearing.

Viewers will experience limited audio levels and on-screen subtitles showing words and fractured sentences to reflect his hearing difficulties.

Ben (Max Bowden) will struggle to come to terms with the aftermath of a boat crash.

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Steve McFadden plays Phil Mitchell (Yui Mok/PA)

Steve McFadden plays Phil Mitchell (Yui Mok/PA)

PA

Steve McFadden plays Phil Mitchell (Yui Mok/PA)

In upcoming episodes, Ben will become determined to prove he’s capable of helping his father Phil Mitchell (Steve McFadden).

EastEnders worked with the National Deaf Children’s Society as well as audiologists and other experts to ensure the storyline was portrayed accurately.

Walford will also welcome a new deaf character called Frankie (played by deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis).

BBC bosses recently confirmed that EastEnders will resume filming by the end of June, after production was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Executive producer Jon Sen said: “The story of Ben’s struggle with his deafness has given us a gripping insight into his character.

“This special point of view episode is a ground-breaking episode unlike any other attempted in the history of EastEnders.

“Helmed by a compelling performance by Max Bowden, it allows the audience the opportunity to experience the world through Ben’s eyes and ears – a story communicated purely by his dialogue and the snatched words of those around him.

“I am so proud of what the team have achieved and cannot wait for the fans to see it.”

Vicki Kirwin, an audiology specialist at the National Deaf Children’s Society, who worked closely with the cast and crew, said: “It was an absolute privilege to work with the team, who were so dedicated to making sure they got this right.

“This ground-breaking episode will give viewers a glimpse into the challenges many deaf people in the UK come up against each and every day, with brilliant technical skill to make viewers feel some sense of what Ben Mitchell is experiencing.

“So many of the families and deaf young people that I speak to talk about the loneliness and isolation that deafness can bring.

“So much of this stems from the challenge of communicating, and people not making those little adjustments to include a deaf person in everyday conversation.

“From speaking clearly, not covering your mouth, to writing something down or using gestures when you speak – a little bit of deaf awareness can make a huge impact.

“But on top of all of this, for all those deaf young people who rarely see themselves, their life experiences or the challenges they go through represented on the programmes they love, this episode is for you.”

PA