Former EastEnders actors open up about their touching on-screen relationship

Jonny Labey and Harry Reid, former EastEnders actors, fondly remember their touching and at times steamy on-screen relationship.

Johnny Labey and Harry Reid as Ben Mitchell and Paul Coker sharing a kiss on EastEnders

Celebrity X Factor star Jonny Labey and former EastEnders actor Harry Reid reminisced about their on-screen relationship, prompting fans to tweet about missing the couple’s presence on the show.

The pair starred in 106 episodes of EastEnders together, where they played same-sex couple Paul Coker and Ben Mitchell. The couple were really popular with fans, many of whom were devastated when the end came.

Harry Reid, the fifth actor to take on the character of Ben Mitchell, was replaced by Max Bowden earlier in the year. 

Jonny Labey played Paul Coker from June 2015 to September 2016 before his character met a tragic and untimely end due to a homophobic attack ending in his murder. 

However his nostalgia for the relationship shone through in a tweet earlier this week about the memories he still treasured. “Thank you ‘Ben & Paul’ for this selection of scenes!”

He tagged Reid in the tweet, stating “@HarryReid16 we done good!”

This prompted enthusiastic responses from fans, who cited the pair’s “fantastic chemistry” and said that without the relationship, the show is “just not the same.” 

Another fan stated: “I’m not crying, you’re crying! I miss Ben and Paul, my heart hurts watching this.” 

Fan accounts made compilation videos of the former EastEnders couple’s more tender moments, including Ben falling in love with Paul and realising his own sexuality. 

The couple were not without their controversy, including a heated scene in a funeral parlour run by Paul’s family.

Despite producer Sean O’Connor writing him off the show three years ago, Paul’s character remains a huge presence in EastEnders, as a heartbreaking scene in a June episode revealed that Ben is still grieving for Paul. 

The character, now played by Max, told Halfway: “I didn’t mean to fall in love with Paul, I didn’t want to fall in love with blokes at all, but it don’t work like that.”

Jonny Labey’s off-screen life is currently going very well as he has recently impressed the X Factor judges and gotten through to the X Factor Celebrity live shows.

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