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EastEnders announce a special episode centred around Ben Mitchell

The episode, told entirely from Ben's perspective, will air in the coming weeks as he struggles with the deterioration of his hearing.

As the day of Ben's riskiest job with Phil arrives, viewers will experience limited audio levels and on-screen subtitles showing words and fractured sentences to reflect Ben’s hearing difficulties and some of the realities of being a deaf person in the UK today.

We have already seen Ben trying to come to terms with the aftermath of the Thames boat incident and we'll soon see how Ben is more determined than ever to prove that he’s capable of helping Phil with his dodgy dealings. But when they find themselves making a deal with the devil, will Ben be in too deep?

The special episode will follow Ben as he grapples with recent events and finds himself in an unnerving situation which quickly spirals out of control.

EastEnders have continued to work closely with the National Deaf Children’s Society as well as audiologist’s and other experts in the field to ensure the storyline is portrayed as accurately as possible.

In a groundbreaking episode exploring what it means to be deaf in the UK today and shining a spotlight on some of the experiences and challenges deaf people go through, Walford will welcome a new deaf character Frankie, played by deaf actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, who Callum befriends and encourages her to meet with Ben to offer him support.

Speaking about the special episode, the soap's Executive Producer Jon Sen said “The story of Ben’s struggle with his deafness has given us a gripping insight into his character. This special point of view episode is a ground-breaking episode unlike any other attempted in the history of EastEnders."

"Helmed by a compelling performance by Max Bowden, it allows the audience the opportunity to experience the world through Ben’s eyes and ears - a story communicated purely by his dialogue and the snatched words of those around him. I am so proud of what the team have achieved and cannot wait for the fans to see it.”

Adding to what Jon had to say, an audiology specialist at the National Deaf Children’s Society who worked closely with the cast and crew, Vicki Kirwin, said “It was an absolute privilege to work with the team, who were so dedicated to making sure they got this right."

"This groundbreaking episode will give viewers a glimpse into the challenges many deaf people in the UK come up against each and every day, with brilliant technical skill to make viewers feel some sense of what Ben Mitchell is experiencing."

“So many of the families and deaf young people that I speak to talk about the loneliness and isolation that deafness can bring. So much of this stems from the challenge of communicating, and people not making those little adjustments to include a deaf person in everyday conversation. From speaking clearly, not covering your mouth, to writing something down or using gestures when you speak – a little bit of deaf awareness can make a huge impact.

“But on top of all of this, for all those deaf young people who rarely see themselves, their life experiences or the challenges they go through represented on the programmes they love, this episode is for you.”

To find out more about how to communicate well with a deaf person, go to the National Deaf Children’s Society website here.

EastEnders continues Mondays at 8pm and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on BBC One


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