EastEnders: Jay serenades Lola at the seaside

Max Bowden, 28, portrays Ben Mitchell in EastEnders and he’s currently starring alongside Danielle Hard, who plays Lola Pearce.

The actor has spoken candidly about how Lola’s terminal brain tumour storyline has been affecting him, following the death of his best friend off-screen.

Max’s character is desperate to find a way to prolong Lola’s life, but she is set to die in heartbreaking scenes which air next week on the BBC soap.

He’s been speaking to the doctors in the hope of getting Lola through the summer, but his efforts have been in vain.

Max took to social media to share a clip of Ben begging doctors for more help and he opened up about his own experiences with the illness in a caption underneath.

He wrote: “This clip is from tonight’s episode. This storyline has been the hardest I have ever had to deal with. 21 months ago I lost my best friend in the world to an undiagnosed brain tumour.

“Friday afternoon we were on the phone for an hour discussing Ronaldo’s United return, 24 hours later he went into a coma and never woke up.

“Coming to terms with this grief has been the most turbulent, overwhelming, impossible thing I have ever had to overcome, and telling this story with Lola has been a tough old ride but an incredibly rewarding one.

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“When we lose someone, we never know how we’re going to feel, how we’re going to change. Ben is no exception.”

Max said his character is a “complicated man” who is “riddled with trauma and complexities”.

“Fear can turn us into monsters,” the actor added. “Many have picked up on this and I’m glad, this is exactly what we wanted to portray.

“Every one of the Mitchell’s are dealing with it very differently, and that’s a credit to the writing team and the story team.”

He added: “Playing a character doesn’t mean I agree with his choices, however, we can all appreciate that grief does different things to different people.”

Lola loses her battle with her brain tumour during an episode which airs next week.

She reaches her final days after suffering another seizure, leaving her husband Jay Branning (Jamie Borthwick) struggling to cope with losing her.

Lola actress Danielle said of her final scenes on the soap: “It’s been really difficult filming these last few scenes over because it does get really tough, especially towards the end.

“It’s such a heartbreaking diagnosis and it’s not nice to watch or to play.”

She added: “I would like to take a moment for everybody that has reached out to me and shared their experiences with me, I have read every message and hold all of your messages close to my heart whilst playing this story.”

EastEnders airs Mondays to Thursdays on BBC One at 7.30pm.

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