17/04/2016 00:41 BST | Updated 17/04/2017 06:12 BST

EastEnders Bad Boy Ben Mitchell Shows Love For Paul Coker With Queen Vic Kiss

EastEnders bad boy Ben Mitchell will go public with his feelings for lover Paul Coker by kissing him in the Queen Vic.

Viewers of the BBC One soap have watched the troubled Walford resident, played by Harry Reid, struggle with his sexuality for years.

But after months of hiding his illicit romance with Paul (portrayed by Jonny Labey), Ben finally faced up to the truth in Thursday's instalment.

"I'm tired of pretending to be something I ain't," he told Paul. 

"I want to be with you. I want to be your boyfriend."

In the episode which is due to be broadcast on April 25, he takes an even braver step.

As the surprised Albert Square residents watch on, Ben kisses Paul.

It remains to be seen how Ben's hard-man father Phil (played by Steve McFadden) will react.

EastEnders won plaudits in 2014 for the moving coming out scene between Johnny Carter (portrayed at that time by Sam Strike) and his father Mick (Danny Dyer).

In a plotline that subverted expectations, tough-guy Mick tenderly accepted his son's homosexuality.

In stark contrast, Phil has so far refused to fully embrace his own son's sexual preference.