In spite of the fact that Ben Mitchell (Max Bowden) and Callum ‘Halfway’ Highway (Tony Clay) have only shared one kiss thus far, it’s safe to say that they’re already one of the most popular pairings in EastEnders history.
Upon discovering that Callum had been struggling with his sexuality, Ben made every effort to help the young lad come to terms with who he is. Although Callum rebuked him at first, he was eventually able to open up about his inner loneliness — something which ultimately led to the two men sharing a passionate kiss.
Since the iconic kiss aired, Ben and Callum’s relationship — now commonly referred to as Ballum — has amassed quite the fanbase — but how do actors Max and Tony feel about the positive reaction their characters’ pairing has received?
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Max said: ‘I don’t think either of us expected it to be as immediate and as brilliant as it’s been. It’s such an interesting dynamic to play. As different as they are, they both have so many similiarities. They come from this dysfunctional background of toxic masculinity and Ben’s been through it, and I think that’s what’s been so great.’
It’s not difficult to see why viewers are so fond of Ben and Callum. Sure, the characters have sizzling chemistry, but it’s the strong backstory behind them both — not to mention the evident similarities they share — that makes this pairing rather hard not to root for.
Agreeing with Max’s sentiments, Tony said: ‘They’re kids both from troubled backgrounds in their own sort of way. They’ve both taken very different paths. I think they’ve met at the right age, the right time and at the right moment in their lives.’
Max continued: ‘There is so much for these two characters to give to each other. It’s a really exciting story to tell — a story of a man coming out and feeling accepted and finding common ground and that is so important to tell, and I’m glad that we’re lucky enough to do it.’
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