Not many would have predicted this coming – but Phil Mitchell is now considered a hero by many soap fans for giving a homophobe five of the best in the latest episode of EastEnders.
Viewers have been loving the relationship between Phil’s son, Ben, and Callum, dubbing the pair ‘Ballum’ (and handily forgetting that Ben is a convicted murderer!). But when the wedding between Callum and Whitney was cancelled, Callum’s dad Jonno wasn’t happy.
Jonno confronted the pair at The Queen Vic, demanding answers. Callum came out to his dad and kissed Ben in front of him. This didn’t go down well, ad moments later, motioning to Ben, Jonno exploded, “It’s him that’s turned you into one of them! A disgusting muck-loving f****t.”
Now while we should wonder whether it was appropriate for a prime time soap to use that slur, the moment that had the biggest impact was when old grumpy pants himself, Phil Mitchell, stepped forward and knocked Jonno into next week. This was especially important as Phil had previously not been supportive of Ben’s sexuality at all.
Phil Mitchell said “gay rights” #EastEnders pic.twitter.com/qBv8K7k6A1
— Joe Balfour (@BalfourJ) October 1, 2019
And that’s when the internet exploded.
I haven't been an #Eastenders watcher for years but I always seem to land on the channel when Phil Mitchell (greatest love of my life) is punching some yob in the face. New gay icon. pic.twitter.com/OPhZjXngms
— Leah Gasson (@oyster_eyes) October 1, 2019
The character that everybody loved to hate (or loved to love) has found a new legion of fans ready to forgive his past misdeeds!
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever stanned Phil Mitchell so hard #Ballum #EastEnders https://t.co/PgkBVixOj5
— Laura Davidson (@lovelylaurajd) October 1, 2019
Now whether Phil has turned a corner and become a full-time ally of the community or just fancied swinging a punch has yet to be seen, but for now:
LGBT icon of the day: Phil Mitchell pic.twitter.com/hSo8xhfvhp
— beckett ? (@hclfway) September 30, 2019
Looks like all those Ballum fans are happy with how things turned out too. As the official EastEnders page tweeted –
Ballum Actually. #EastEnders pic.twitter.com/Co1kt4zFRv
— BBC EastEnders (@bbceastenders) October 1, 2019
The popular soap also caused a splash back in May when it depicted its first ever Pride march on the Square. Kate Oates, the show’s new senior executive producer, said these moves were to make the show more inclusive and a truer reflection of London.
Oates shared, “I’m really interested in bringing some more LGBTQ characters in… It should be something really exciting, really fun, really visual and feel really true to multicultural London.”
callum going to kiss ben in front of his homophobic father who was just knocked flat on the floor by phil mitchell. #eastenders pic.twitter.com/pzLGwjNw7l
— el ? (@billskvrsgrd) October 1, 2019
Hopefully the producers follow through on those plans, or they’ll have Phil Mitchell to answer to.
© 2019 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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