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EastEnders line up shocking gay rape storyline with fan favourite tackling difficult scenes

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EASTENDERS will feature its first male rape storyline next month. Viewers will see Albert Square's Ben Mitchell, played by Max Bowden, 27, become the victim of a shocking sexual assault by new barman Lewis, played by 33-year-old Irish actor Aidan O’Callaghan.

It comes 10 years after BBC bosses turned down the issue saying it was too difficult to cover in a pre-watershed soap. Producers have been working closely with several charities, including SurvivorsUK, Survivors Manchester and the Male Survivors Partnership, to ensure it is covered sensitively.

A TV insider said: “It’s the first time EastEnders has covered this issue but they’ve always been at the forefront of telling these important stories. "As always, the show is working closely with different charities as they want to make sure it’s all handled as sensitively as possible.

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