Hollyoaks teacher John Paul McQueen has been forced to relive his rape ordeal since discovering his attacker Finn O’Connor is due for parole.
Clashing with boyfriend James Nightingale over how to handle the traumatic situation, JP has found himself confiding in his ex, Ste Hay, who helped him cope with the attack when it happened back in 2014.
Last night’s E4 episode saw John Paul and Ste share a secret kiss, and in the coming week Finn’s fate will be revealed to viewers when he violently attacks James in prison. For actor James Sutton, it’s a chance to revisit one of his most disturbing storylines…
“The very mention of Finn’s name affects John Paul,” reveals the star, who recently announced he was quitting Hollyoaks after 11 years. “John Paul hears that James is going to take on Finn’s case, but he doesn’t want James to be involved with Finn in the slightest. The fact James is only representing Finn in order to keep him in prison makes John Paul unhappy because James is making Finn the victim.”
Unfortunately James’s plan backfires when Finn unleashes a violent attack on him in prison in next Monday’s E4 episode. Even though this hopefully means the evil O’Connor doesn’t get released, it still impacts John Paul’s future with James.
“Hopefully the attack shows that Finn is not safe to come out of prison, but James going behind John Paul’s back to see Finn is not good and makes John Paul question whether or not he can trust James…”
Waiting in the wings is Ste, who viewers saw snogging John Paul in Thursday’s E4 episode. The couple made history by having soap’s first gay church wedding in 2014, so does Sutton think a permanent reunion is on the cards for the characters? “They’ve always had a connection, and technically they are still married. Ste’s been having problems with his boyfriend harry and John Paul isn’t happy about James lying to him about Finn, so they are drawn to each other again.
“But actually I don’t know if I would like them to get back together,” reveals Sutton. “I prefer their friendship. With John Paul and Ste I think there’s a lot more fun to be had with them as friends.
“Though it’s a lot of fun working with Kieron Richardson again after all this time, he’s one of my favourites. His hair’s got bigger though so I have to take that into consideration!”
So does Sutton think Ste’s not the one for JP then? “In terms of John Paul getting his happy ending on the show, I don’t think that would be with Ste, no – maybe he would want it to be with his first love, Craig Dean? We’ll say that for now…”