Ste and James have hit a rough patch in their relationship and Ste is especially hurt when James doesn’t want Lucas living with them, can you tell us about this?
The bottom line is James doesn’t want the kids, Leah or Lucas, around as I think he feels like they’re getting in the way of their relationship. As the audience might have seen, James has not been very nice towards Lucas, and Lucas has been trying to hint to his dad about what’s been going on…
However, Ste is obviously lovesick with James and can’t really see it until his eyes get opened to some of the lies that James has been telling, including getting Brent beat up in prison. It’s kind of a pattern in James’ behaviour that Ste then retaliates and accuses him of being just like his dad Mac, which is an awful thing to do because Ste’s had an abusive step-dad and that’s exactly what James went through. It’s not the right thing to say but it causes some heartache and they kind of smash through some walls by having a really deep and meaningful chat. Ste says he understands everything that he’s gone through, but their love is deeper than these issues so please can we just stay together. By the end of the solidarity episode, they literally do become more solid together as a couple.
Ste and James have had a few ups and downs in their relationship but have always worked through it, why do you think that is?
Even though they’re completely different characters, James is almost upper class and Ste sees himself as lower class. They like completely different music, they don’t watch the same television shows, they definitely don’t eat the same type of food, but they’ve had a similar upbringing. Even though James was probably in a bit of a nicer house in a nicer estate, whilst Ste was kind of dragged up, this abusive dad/step-dad issue is kind of what binds them together. They have their differences, but they’ve got this experience which is quite unique which was horrendous suddenly that’s like the magnet that brings them back together because they know about the abuse that they’ve both suffered.
What does the future hold for the couple and does James have it in him to be a good step-dad?
I can’t put my finger on why James doesn’t want Leah or Lucas around and whether he just wants Ste I can’t understand why because I feel like Ste does give James a lot of his time anyway and I feel like the future would be great for them as a couple if James could just get past that. I can’t really work out what Ste would need to do to make the relationship more solid because at the end of the day he’s not going to make Leah or Lucas move out and Ste and James could live happily ever after because the kids do come first. However, I feel like if they didn’t argue they could have a nice future but is that boring to watch? I don’t know.
Why should fans tune into the solidarity episode?
I think that fans should tune in to the solidarity episode purely even for Annie Wallace. She’s got this great speech near the end of the episode which she actually wrote herself. We didn’t know on the day until we did the line run. She was talking about growing up as a trans woman and there was quite an impassioned speech where we actually learned a lot as actors on the day. Annie told us that she wrote that speech herself, so I think it’s quite nice that the viewers get to see from Annie’s eyes actually what it was like growing up in a different time. Even though we are in 2023 now, all you’ve got to do is turn on the news and see everything isn’t sorted so hopefully Annie’s speech alone might just open a few people’s eyes.
Why do you think it’s important for Hollyoaks to show the contrast of togetherness during the issue storyline covering conversion therapy?
I think purely for the news agenda. I was kind of oblivious thinking yeah it’s not as bad as people think, even in some of the conversations that were coming out of the party conference the other week, from someone from the LGBTQ+ community that was actually quite shocking to hear. I think because we have a young demographic these kind of issue stories around this subject matter need to be put on TV for the younger demographic to show that it’s not right and it’s not okay and there is a long way to go yet.
What were the scenes/night shoot like to film?
As we said before it was quite powerful listening to Annie’s story which we shot on the night shoot. There’s a bit towards the end where we all come together in solidarity and there’s this final shot where we’re all walking towards the McQueens, and in the pictures that have been sent out we were genuinely happy to be together in that moment. Then there’s a fun little sequence in the McQueens speakeasy bar in the cellar, I tried to do the worm and I did it very unsuccessfully, I’m not sure that made the final cut.
It has been revealed that Carter will set his sights on Lucas, why do you think now more than ever it’s important for Hollyoaks to be airing a Conversion Therapy storyline?
Even for people like myself who have already came out and, I thought, well it’s sorted because I’ve done it and I’m fine but there’s people out there that are still scared to come out because they feel unable for whatever reason. That is obviously some part of society that’s making them feel like that though I think we should show it on TV or stream it wherever you get the episode to show those people who are having those feelings that if you get offered some sort of thing like this it isn’t the way to go. And maybe speaking to people, talking, and having the confidence to just own who you are I think leads to a happier life.
What can you tease about the future of this storyline?
I can’t really tease much for me because its probably more on Oscar (Lucas)’s shoulder now and James (John Paul) because he’s the one who started this as well. It would be nice to show the outcome which is I personally think you can’t be converted, it’s in you, you don’t choose to be gay, you can’t choose not to be you. You can maybe bury your head in the sand and pretend that’s not who you are, but I genuinely believe there’s no words or secret potion that can stop you from being who you are.
Hollyoaks airs weeknights on E4 at 7pm