Hollyoaks’ Luke Morgan is haunted by his traumatic past this week when he sees Mark Gibbs, the man who raped him 17 years ago.
While out in Chester with girlfriend Mandy Richardson after visiting her daughter Ella at her foster home, Luke is horrified to see the man responsible for his brutal attack out walking along the river. Flinching at the sight of Gibbs, Luke flees and goes missing overnight leaving Mandy confused and concerned he’s fallen off the wagon.
Since Luke returned to Hollyoaks it’s been clear he has never fully dealt with the attack and has been driven to alcohol which has severely affected his life, resulting in Ella being taken into care because of his booze-fuelled neglect.
In their first joint interview about revisiting the groundbreaking male rape storyline, Gary Lucy and Colin Parry discuss reuniting on screen as Luke and Mark.
How do Luke and Mark cross paths again after all this time?
Gary: Luke gets the chance to spend the day with Ella and Mandy in Chester. They’re having a great day and there are real signs that Luke and Mandy could make another go of it – however, things take a turn for the worse when Mandy goes to buy some ice cream and Luke spots Mark Gibbs, the man who raped him 17 years ago. Luke completely freaks out, everything comes flooding back to him and he runs off.
Colin, what was it like doing your first scenes?
Colin: My first day back this time around was on location in Chester doing scenes with Gary and Sarah (Jayne Dunn, aka Mandy). It was great, because it was exactly the same two members of cast in 1999 on my first day then and it was in Chester too! Very nostalgic.
And how did it feel working with Gary again after so many years apart?
C: It was brilliant. We literally haven’t laid eyes on each other for 17 years since my last day of filming in August 2000!. He hasn’t changed one bit, neither has Sarah, which is annoying as I’ve aged so much! He is very passionate about this storyline, as am I.
Gary, did you enjoy filming with Colin after all this time?
G: So many years have passed since we last worked together and he is still as lovely now as he was back then. He is a fantastic actor and a lovely guy, and still so brilliant at playing Mark and his portrayal of the character is fantastic.
Why do you think it’s important for Hollyoaks to revisit this storyline?
C: Luke’s character has been through so much and never sought help for his obvious distress and has carried it alone for all these years. It’s important to show how you shouldn’t deal with this alone and help is out there.
G: Back in 2000 we were so proud of what we achieved being the first TV programme to tackle a male rape storyline. It was handled so sensitively and was so groundbreaking and will always be a huge part of my career. Since then, the subject has been covered more widely, but not in the same way as this one. Luke never actually dealt with what happened and unfortunately the ordeal has followed him throughout his whole life. It’s really interesting to see the journey Luke has been on, because of not seeking the help he needed.
Luke starts stalking Mark on social media after seeing him – how do you think Mark will react if he does come face to face with Luke again?
C: When Mark sees Luke for the first time it’s definitely going to be a big moment. Mark is cocky and confident, but I think even he will be shocked when he realises Luke is back in his life. It’s so long in the making and I think the tension will be incredible.
G: I would imagine it would be horrific for Luke and it may be that tip of the iceberg that turns him back to the drink. It could ruin everything he has with Mandy.
What can you tease for what is coming up?
G: Luke is going to be revisiting that horrible time in his life quite a lot and he comes quite obsessive with Mark. There is some really heavy stuff to come that has been great to film and I am so glad we’re seeing this side to the storyline.
Hollyoaks continues weeknights on E4 at 7pm and on Channel 4 at 6.30pm.