Everyone loves Max Bowden in EastEnders. The actor can play things mean, moody and outright thuggish but always with his own cheeky style.
EastEnders fans have been blown away by some terrific performances by Max Bowden as Walford's bad boy Ben Mitchell ever since Max joined the soap in 2019, making him the sixth Ben! His on/off relationship with Callum Highway has kept us all on tenterthooks, but the pair have finally made things official by tying the knot at last.
So here's everything you need to know about EastEnders favourite Max Bowden...
What makes EastEnders star Max Bowden tick? Here's our lowdown on the EastEnders actor…
1. Max Bowden played Billy Elliot on stage at 15
Max Bowden is highly skilled at tap dancing, which helped him in his role of Billy Elliot in the hit stage musical when he was 15! He’d previously starred in a stage version of Beauty and the Beast. With his apparent dancing skills, could Max Bowden be signed up for a stint on Strictly Come Dancing at some point?
2. He’s best mates with Danny Hatchard, aka Lee Carter
Before joining EastEnders, Max was already close friends with Danny Hatchard, who played Lee Carter in the soap.
The two friends have enjoyed various nights out on the town together, with Max posting several photos of himself with Danny, who he referred to as his ‘brother’.
3. Max previously starred in Waterloo Road
Before finding fame in EastEnders, Max starred in popular BBC1 school drama Waterloo Road, playing Justin Fitzgerald, the wayward son of headteacher Vaughan Fitzgerald (Neil Pearson), in the show's final series between 2014 and 2015.
While filming on location in Greenock, in Scotland, all the cast were away from home and their families, but Max says Drop The Dead Donkey star Neil was always there for him when he needed help: "He was like a father figure," Max told The Mirror. "I was still quite young being 18 when I first moved there and Neil was there for me when I needed advice."
4. He appeared in panto with Steve McFadden when he was nine
Before his role as Phil’s son Ben Mitchell, Max Bowden had already played Steve McFadden’s son before – in the Woking pantomime Peter Pan! "That wasn’t the first time I’d worked with Steve! I’d played his son when I was nine in a pantomime in Woking. He didn’t remember me! [The panto was] Peter Pan, he was Hook," Max once told The Mirror.
5. Max Bowden sings and plays guitar
According to sources, Max is brilliant at accents and has mastered several, including American, Geordie, Irish and Scouse. He’s also a great guitar player and singer to boot, although we haven’t seen Ben Mitchell singing karaoke in the Queen Vic just yet... All this means Max would be amazing for The Masked Singer surely?
6. Max was bullied at school
Max was bullied at his school in Woking. "I think generally people that work in entertainment have been bullied at one point in their life as we are all a bit different in our own quirky ways," he told The Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Campaign.
"There were times in school where people would call me names like Billy Elliot in a negative light. I spoke to my family about it who were great, and helped me, it all got resolved from there.
"I separated myself from the people who were bringing me down. By getting involved in after school activities I was able to meet people who had similar interests to me and who liked me for me!"
7. Max gets beard rash from kissing co-star Tony Clay
EastEnders fans have adored the ‘Ballum’ storyline with the rollercoaster relationship between Ben and Callum.
In one of the pair's earlier episodes together Max revealed he struggled with beard rash after spending two hours shooting a kissing scene with his co-star Tony Clay, who plays Ben’s husband Callum...
He told Attitude: "Tony and I were in a park kissing for about two hours – it was a massive bonding experience. We both had beard rash by the end of it!"
8. Max was a soldier on stage
Max played a World War One soldier on stage in a production of Birdsong based on the famous Sebastian Faulks novel. It had also been made into a BBC drama with Eddie Redmayne back in 2012. Sharing a memory of the production on Instagram, he wrote: "One of my favourite jobs was a play called Birdsong in 2015 with Original Theatre Company. Seems fitting to post this at a time where theatres, theatre companies and actors and creatives alike are in incredibly difficult positions and remaining uncertainty."
During the COVID pandemic in July 2020, when production of EastEnders had stopped, Max took part in a virtual version of Birdsong.
9. He's now a father
Max became a father on September 28 2022 when his former partner gave birth to a little boy Reginald Buckle, aka Reggie. Max gave us his excitement about becoming a father by posting pictures of himself on Instagram. Do take a look at all the cuteness below...
10. He's a big fan of boxing
Max loves to box, especially in a ring! And he gets to fight — well pretend fight — in EastEnders in March 2023. He posted a pictured of himself as Ben Mitchell in a Walford boxing bout on Instagram recently: "Buzzing that we’ve got a proper boxing gym back in Albert square," Max posted. "Loved shooting next week's episodes with my brother @chrisevangelou . So good to combine my two loves, acting and boxing! Tune in and see Ben bite off more than he can chew!"
11. Max's major musical performance
Max recently posted a story on Instagram that showed a performance he'd given of the classic song Empty Chairs At Empty Tables from Les Miserables, which showed off his remarkable, almost operatic, singing voice. It was a performance, given for a fundraiser for the charity SEED (Support and Empathy for people with Eating Disorders) which was put on by his friend, the Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten. Take a look at Max's stunning perfomance below...
Max Bowden's Fact File
How old is he?
Max Bowden is 28. He was born on 31st December 1994.
Is he in a relationship?
Max Bowden came out of a long-term relationship with girlfriend Danielle Lauren McCarney in 2021, then dated new girlfriend Roisin Buckle, who is now the mother of his son Reginald (Reggie). He's been on/off dating his EastEnders co-star Shona McGarty.
Does he have children?
Max Bowden is father to a boy Reginald Buckle.
Where was he born?
Max Bowden was born in Woking, Surrey.
How tall is he?
Max Bowden is 5ft 9.
We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.
EastEnders airs Mondays at 8.05pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.35pm and Fridays at 8.30pm on BBC One - see our TV Guide for full listings.
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I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.