EastEnders has recast Ben Mitchell for the sixth time - and fans aren't happy about it.
Viewers have been calling for the return of the character pretty much since he left, but now the news has been announced there has been a flurry of complaints on social media about the decision to bring a new actor in.
Max Bowden, of Waterloo Road fame, is taking over the role, as Ben returns with daughter Lexi and her mum, Lola Pearce.
The last incarnation of Ben was Harry Reid and he was very popular. He has previously admitted he "didn't see Ben's exit coming".
No one did, really, as it was a very abrupt ending for the character who just took a ferry to France in January 2018 after stealing cash that Phil and his cohorts took in the heist.
I find this terribly embarrassing for @bbceastenders Harry Reid was/is the best Ben Mitchell.
It was a very low-key ending for what had been a popular and dramatic character.
In fact, it was arguably Harry who propelled the previously unpopular character to EastEnders icon status after four other actors failed to grab viewers' attention.
Fans on Twitter have joked he's been recast so many times he's EastEnders answer to Doctor Who!
Even celebs, such as Matt Lucas, have got involved as an "I am Spartacus" style tweet chain began:
But the overwhelming response has been despair that Harry Reid will not be returning.
"Very annoyed", "Gutted", and "Devastated", were some of the things being said.
There were some fans of actor Max who are looking forward to seeing him in EastEnders:
Of his new role, Max said: “I’m so excited to be joining the cast of EastEnders and taking on the role of Ben Mitchell.
"I’ve always been a fan of the show so to be joining one of the most iconic families in soap is beyond exciting. I can’t wait to get started and see what’s in store for Ben.”
And Kate Oates, show boss, said: "A character like Ben, with his rich history, ‘complicated’ family and complex psychology, is pure gold.
"With Max in the role, we will be exploring the aspects of Ben’s character that have been allowed to develop during his time away from the Square: unfettered by old loyalties, and out of the long shadow of his father, Phil.”
ED! has contacted EastEnders for comment.
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