Hollyoaks: Joel proposes to Cleo – Nadine Mulkerrin and Rory Douglas-Speed on the couple’s future

"She loves Joel and needs him in her life, but is still insecure about Sienna…"

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There could be a happy ending at last for Hollyoaks’ star-crossed lovers Joel Dexter and Cleo McQueen as the ex-priest proposes to his troubled girlfriend in E4’s episode showing on Friday 11 May. But has too much happened between the cursed couple?

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Before the big proposal the pair are at odds – Cleo has been struggling with an eating disorder and is angry when she learns her boyfriend is monitoring her food intake with a diary. “Cleo feels betrayed and believes it’s an invasion of her privacy,” reveals Rory Douglas-Speed, who plays the former clergyman. “They have a huge fight so Joel attempts to put all her insecurities at ease by making a big gesture and proposes.”

Summoning Cleo to meet him in the village and urging her to close her eyes as he leads her down the steps of the city wall, Joel eventually tells Ms McQueen to open wide to reveal a colourful poster with the surprise proposal has been stuck on a tree. As Joel gets down on one knee, what will Cleo’s answer be?

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“Cleo loves Joel dearly and she needs him in her life,” teases Nadine Mulkerrin, aka Cleo, carefully dodging her character’s response so fans can see how it unfolds on screen. “There is a real chemistry between them – don’t know why that could be!” she laughs, referring to the fact she and Douglas-Speed are dating in real life.

Joel and Cleo have a lot of baggage to put aside if they are to become man and wife, how does Mulkerrin  see her alter ego being able to move past Joel’s involvement with her cousin Bart’s murder and the spectre of his unstable ex-girlfriend, Sienna Blake?

“I think she will always feel slightly insecure about Sienna and Joel,” she admits. “As for Bart, it’s Hollyoaks – if you avoided anyone who has been involved in a murder there literally wouldn’t be anyone left in the village!”

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“At this point Joel thinks Sienna is beyond help,” counters Douglas-Speed. “He’s over it, but there are still attachments through Sebastian and he does have some unforgettable history with her.”

But with Sienna’s funeral teased in the flash forward soon to hit our screens for real, will Joel be too gripped by grief for his old flame to look to the future with Cleo? And could this push Cleo back to bulimia?

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