EastEnders has been floored with 353 complaints following Ben Mitchell’s harrowing rape scene.
It’s now become the soap’s second most complained about scene of the decade after it was shown at the end of May.
Viewers have seen a friendly relationship between Ben and Lewis Butler, Prince Albert manager and bartender, in the lead-up to the attack.
After a major row with his wife, the Walford resident decided that he would drown his sorrows in the pub and meet Lewis.
Callum was forced to cover for her father when Lexi, Ben’s little girl, arrived at the house.
They decided to take a selfie together, but Ben was too busy by Lewis to notice.
One thing leads to the next and Ben was soon up with Lewis.
But, he saw the snap that his husband had sent and began to doubt what he was planning to do.
Although sex attacker Lewis, played by Aidan O’Callaghan, refused to let him go and raped him in the harrowing scene on the BBC soap.
Many viewers were moved to tears by watching the drama of sexual assault unfold. They have complained to the soap ever since about scenes that were shown prior to watershed.
Aware of the influx of complaints the BBC has released a statement in response, they said: “EastEnders has been a pre-watershed BBC One staple for over 37 years and has a rich history of dealing with challenging and difficult issues and Ben’s story is one of these.
“We have worked closely with organisations and experts in the field to tell this story which we hope will raise awareness of sexual assaults and the issues surrounding them.”
The statement went on: “We are always mindful of the timeslot in which EastEnders is shown and we took great care to signpost this storyline prior to transmission, through on-air continuity and publicity as well as providing a BBC Action Line at the end of the episode which offers advice and support to those affected by the issue.”
Actor Max Bowden has spoken about the aftermath of his on-screen persona following on from the assault.
Saying Ben will be in an “Confusion is a common element” after the rape, he revealed his character on the soap will blame shift.
He said: “Ben blames himself and his wife for the rape. It takes Ben a while before he realizes he is a victim. It is difficult to grasp the concept of rape for anyone.”
“It’s really really tough. He becomes a shell inside himself.”
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