Hollyoaks: Lysette Anthony interview – “Mac thinks he’s dying and confesses everything to Marnie”

The actress reveals what’s in store for the Nightingales’ twisted marriage as Mac fights for his life

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Hollyoaks’ dysfunctional couple Marnie and Mac Nightingale make Taylor and Burton look like Richard and Judy, such is the extent of their twisted passion, mutual loathing and endless schemes to bring the other down.

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Next week Marnie and eldest son James’s plan to make Mac think he’s got Alzheimer’s disease so he signs over his assets to his wicked wife – by way of revenge for cheating on her and being responsible for son Nathan’s death – backfires when the poisonous patriarch collapses in Wednesday’s E4 episode, and he ends up fighting for his life in hospital having suffered a stroke.

Lysette Anthony, who plays villainous Marnie, reveals how her character’s calculating plot could end up tearing Hollyoaks’ most glamorous clan apart for good. Oh, and what Jamie Laing from Made in Chelsea is doing in Chester…

How does Mac end up in hospital?

Marnie and James have been convincing Mac he’s losing his mind, but this week Mac suffers an actual stroke. It really changes Marnie, you see this amazing moment of love between them and you know that they have a marriage that just went wrong. In this moment, where Mac thinks he is dying, he becomes very vulnerable, breaks down and admits everything about his affair with Lisa. He begs Marnie to forgive him. This is all that Marnie has ever wanted to hear. She knows he didn’t mean for Nathan to die, it was just a horrible accident so when he confesses she can’t help but be drawn to him – he is going through the same pain of losing a son as she is.

Does that mean Marnie’s revenge plan is off? What does James think of that?

It grinds to a halt momentarily… James feels very betrayed by his mother, but she tries to explain that Mac is still his father no matter what. Marnie tries to convince James to forgive and be the bigger person, but he can’t.

Will Marnie ever stop playing games with Mac?

I think this is what they have become, so it would be impossible to stop. If he declared his undying love she would be bored in four seconds! For now, I think there will still be a lot of wailing and arguing.

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Jamie Lang from Made in Chelsea cameos this week, what was it like working with him?

Absolutely hilarious! You have to understand that unless they’ve been on Farming Today or Radio 4 I don’t know who any celebrity is. That’s the reason I’ve become such great friends with Duncan James because I had no clue who Blue were and unfortunately, the same goes for Jamie – I didn’t know who he was! We did play a prank on him which bordered on the unkind, but being the good sport he is, he saw the funny side.

What would you like to happen next to Marnie?

I’d like to work more with Duncan more because Marnie really needs some friends, Duncan and I are trying it out in real life and it works! Every boy needs a Marnie in their life…

What do you like best about playing Marnie?

Honestly, because we have this great team of writers who write to your strengths, I get to play real despair and proper drama but then get to dive into the comedy as well. There are some truly supreme comic performers in Hollyoaks like Nicole Barber Lane, and I get the chance to play with them which is great. The good thing for Marnie as well is that because she has the restaurant she gets involved with lots of other characters. Oh and the clothes! I describe it as Chanel Chic and obviously we love the Prada shoes.

How do you feel about all your screen children being nominated for British Soap Awards this year?

I am bubbling with pride. I am so proud of Sophie Porley (Ellie) and Greg Finnegan (James) and I just think Richard Linnell (Alfie) should be nominated for every award. He and Kassius Nelson (Jade Albright) and their cancer story with had beautiful, brave and true performances. It was so important and every time I see it I sob!

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Hollyoaks continues weeknights on E4 at 7pm and on Channel 4 at 6.30pm.