There’s method acting and there’s getting carried away – and EastEnders star James Bye has admitted he nearly snapped the neck of his co-star Max Bowden as they prepared for one of Martin Fowler and Ben Mitchell’s many fights.
They have been seen clashing a fair bit over the last year, from punch ups in the Arches through to Ben having Martin dangled head first from a bridge. And on one occasion, it nearly ended in real life disaster.
Asked whether he performs his own stunts, James told Metro.co.uk: ‘I do my own stunts — we can’t afford stunt doubles all the time,’ while Max jokingly quipped: ‘I was going to dangle him myself but I’d actually had a massive workout, so there was no chance. I tried.’
James enthused: ‘The bridge thing was amazing. We had a stunt guy to help because they can only dangle me upside down for so long because of the blood — Pete actually told me that when he wrote the episode, he was like I can’t hang you upside down for the whole episode unfortunately.
‘So, we had stunt guys do that, but most of the time it was me down there, but we did do one scene — me and Max — and I nearly broke his neck. I pulled him up a little prematurely, and he wasn’t ready and he nearly snapped his neck, and we had a bit of a fallout.’
Show boss Kate Oates chipped in with a laugh: ‘Health and safety is paramount!’
Mishaps aside though, James is loving playing Martin’s darker edge. He said: ‘It’s probably the best stuff I’ve had since I’ve been on the show to be honest. It’s a gift. I had a meeting with Jon and Kate and they sort of floated the idea. I was a bit unsure of how we were going to get from the fruit and veg man until that point, and I think that — in terms of a journey for the character — it’s been so nice for the audience to see it happen in front of them, rather than me just coming back from Martin and Stacey doing the runner and suddenly being this bad boy.
‘It’s nice to see him and sort of spiral out of control — and that’s only helped by that lot [points to story team] – they’re the geniuses that come up with it, and Jon and Kate. Me and Max, we’ve had a ball, haven’t we? If we’re not shouting at each other, we’re laughing at each other, we get on well.’
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