How Ben Mitchell and Callum Highway's relationship changed EastEnders forever

Ben and Callum EastEnders BBC
Ben and Callum EastEnders BBC

Fans can't get enough of Walford couple 'Ballum'...

There's been no shortage of couples in EastEnders over the past 35 years.

From rocky romances to marriages that stand the test of time.

But few pairings have quite made their mark like Ben Mitchell and Callum Highway.

The couple, who EastEnders fans have lovingly nicknamed 'Ballum' have certainly had their own bumpy path to true love.

With fans across the country investing in the pair, never before has there been a Walford couple that has captured the hearts of viewers.

In the beginning...

EastEnders Ben Whitney and Callum

Poor Whitney couldn't compete with the bond between Ben and Callum (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC / Kieron McCarron)

When Ben (Max Bowden) worked out that Callum was struggling with his sexuality back in May 2019, Callum was engaged to marry Whitney Dean.

But just as it seemed Ben and Callum were never going to get their happy ever after, Whitney dumped Callum at the altar.

Ben and Callum finally went public with their relationship at the end of last year, making EastEnders fans very happy.

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Opposites attract... 

EastEnders, Ben Mitchell, Callum Highway

Ben and Callum have had their differences over the last year (Picture: BBC) (Image credit: BBC / Jack Barnes)

Still the path to true love didn't run smoothly and Ben and Callum's differences started to come between them.

With Callum being a straight-laced policeman in training, Ben comes from the notoriously dodgy Mitchell family who spend the majority of their time on the wrong side of the law.

But while opposites might attract, Ben broke Callum's heart last Christmas by calling time on their romance.

The end of the fairytale?

Ben and Callum break up in EastEnders

Ben broken Callum's heart when he dumped him at Christmas (Picture: BBC)

In a heartbreaking twist, Ben was only breaking up with Callum to protect him, knowing he would end up getting caught in the middle of Phil's revenge plot against Keanu Taylor.

But nonetheless fans were as devastated when Ben told Callum he didn't love him.

Thankfully Ben finally realised that no matter how much he tried to push Callum away, they were meant to be and they got back together.

A new challenge

Ben Mitchell EastEnders BBC

Ben was left almost completely deaf after the boat accident in February (Picture: BBC)

Sadly Ben and Callum's honeymoon stage didn't last for long.

By February this year, the 35th anniversary boat crash bought fresh drama for the pair.

Ben's life was changed forever when he lost hearing in both ears after the accident, leaving him with a new challenge in his life.

Of course Callum stood by Ben as he struggled to cope with his hearing loss, but as everyone knows, Ben doesn't make a great patient.

However, the pressure on the pair didn't do anything to dampen their relationship.

If anything it bought them closer together as Ben showed his vulnerable side for the first time.

Fans loved sees Ben allowing Callum to look after him for once, and it seems that at last Ben might have found someone who can let him be his true self.

But of course there was more drama to come when Ben got caught up in dad Phil's (Steve McFadden) dodgy dealings with gangster Danny Hardcastle.

Ben ended up losing even more of his hearing after having a gun fired right next to his head, leaving him even more desperate for his operation than ever before.

What does the future hold?

Ben and Callum EastEnders BBC

Can Ballum stand the test of time? (Picture: BBC)

With Ben and Callum's love of one another there for everyone to see, fans have got everything crossed that the pair can make it as a long-term couple.

Despite all the Mitchell drama and their obvious differences, perhaps this is a couple that can show Walford what true love really looks like.

BBC1 airs EastEnders: Secrets from the Square, hosted by Stacey Dooley, at 8pm on Mondays.

Classic episodes of the soap will air at 7.30pm on Tuesdays.

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.