Dodgy DS Armstrong has been pulling the wool over Cindy Cunningham’s eyes in Hollyoaks for weeks – the flirty landlady has been manipulated by her handsome lodger to the point where she’s become emotionally dependent on him.
But as he plays the role of protector to perfection, Cindy is oblivious to the truth – Armstrong is a dangerous serial stalker who’s obsessed with her. Well, this is Hollyoaks, no one can just take in an ordinary lodger, can they?
Next week, Armstrong’s scary side is revealed as former victim Leela Lomax tries to warn Cindy she’s in grave danger – but with Cindy trapped with her secret tormentor in a hotel room, can she escape before it’s too late? Stephanie Waring teases a terrifying time ahead for her hapless character…
“Cindy thanks Armstrong is her guardian angel and the best lodger ever, she really trusts him,” begins Waring. “He convinces her to attend a conference about powerful women at a hotel in Liverpool and offers to go with her for moral support, but when they get there Cindy discovers there is no conference and is worried her stalker has set her up.
“Armstrong lies and pretends his colleagues have advised them to stay put in the hotel, but really this was his plan all along. He freaks Cindy out when he tries to kiss her and when she runs into the bathroom she discovers all these missed calls from Leela.
“When she calls her back, Leela warns her that Armstrong is bad news and tells her to get out of the hotel as quickly as possible…”
Monday’s E4 episode sees the stalker drama take centre stage, as Leela desperately attempts to help Cindy. Seeing as Armstrong has already framed Leela – who he spied on by planting a secret webcam in her house so he could spy on her – for stealing from Cindy, does she believe the foxy firefighter’s claims?
“Leela is more than what Cindy thought she was,” continues Waring. “She doesn’t think she’d lie about something like this, and Cindy discovers her friend Milo is with Leela when she calls so that makes it more convincing.
“And just before the phone call, Armstrong has tried to kiss Cindy, has spilt wine all over her dress and she’s trapped in this bathroom in a hotel. She can’t make any logical sense at this point, she just freaks and knows she needs to get out of there – then it becomes a rollercoaster of panic!”
Cindy tries to escape and a tense chase ensues through the hotel as Armstrong pursues his prey and Leela dashes to the scene.
However, whether she turns out to be Cindy’s saviour remains uncertain – Armstrong has already warned Ms Lomax if she causes him any problems he’ll reveal her big secret that Louis Loveday is the father of her baby son, which probably wouldn’t go down very well with boyfriend Zack. Well, how would you feel if you found out your dad had fathered a kid with your cougar lover?
While fans wait to see if Leela will save Cindy or protect herself, Ms Cunningham will soon have some old faces around (she’ll no doubt need cheering up after the Armstrong ordeal) as Hollyoaks veteran Waring is reunited with former cast mates Sarah Jayne Dunn and Gary Lucy, who are returning to the soap as Mandy Richardson and Luke Morgan respectively.
With Waring notching up more than 21 years, on and off, as sinful Cindy, what’s it like having some blasts from Hollyoaks’ past around again?
“It’s a very nice sense of nostalgia when I see the pair of them,” she smiles. “I mean with Sarah it’s like she’s never left – when she comes back it just feels normal. It’s nice having my friend back and also great seeing Gary who hasn’t changed a bit!”
Audiences have watched Waring, and Cindy, grow up on screen, and the actress admits different things motivate her these days in the job she’s done for two decades.
“Age and experience is the big thing that differs from when I first started. When you’re younger you have no responsibilities – we were just young and carefree back when Sarah and Gary were first around.
”We all have families now and we do this job for more than just ourselves and it’s great, because you also get a sense of being a big kid at work as well having been here from a young age. I still feel like I’m 18 some days!”
Hollyoaks continues weeknights on E4 at 7pm and on Channel 4 at 6.30pm.