Hollyoaks’ Courtney Campbell has given birth to a beautiful baby girl, finally fulfilling her dream of becoming a mother after months of difficulty during her pregnancy.
In tonight’s festive double E4 episode, which depicted a dramatic Christmas Day in the village, Court went into labour and was soon holding little Iona in her arms.
And despite a spot of sabotage from her evil Granny, her and Jesse Donovan declared their love for each other as he stepped up to be a father figure to Iona in the absence of her actual father Liam – who is Jesse’s brother, which also makes him the baby’s uncle…
In an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, Amy Conachan discusses her character’s journey to motherhood, and how Hollyoaks is tackling the topic of parents with disabilities on prime time.
Courtney is finally a mum, how is she feeling?
A mixture of emotions. She’s totally elated she has this little baby after such a difficult pregnancy and is very proud of herself, it shows what she’s capable of. Part of her is a bit terrified at being on her own in terms of the dad not being around. But mainly Courtney is absolutely ecstatic she’s got her baby.
Can her and Jesse live happily ever after?
They love each other but Granny is not on board in any way! Courtney’s not bothered though, by the end of Christmas Day she’s in a little love bubble with her little family and is happy.
Granny plants doubts in her mind, though…
She’s always had this weird relationship with Granny. Despite her controlling ways she’s also been the main parental figure in her life and when Granny says it won’t last alarm bells ring for Courtney and she thinks ‘Maybe she’s right…’ We’ve seen Courtney have her doubts about Jesse, in that she felt more for him than he did for her. Some doubts might be creeping back in.
Granny also tells Courtney she’s incapable of looking after a child, does part of her believe that?
If you have someone telling you something often enough you start to believe it a little bit. When she first holds Iona, Courtney talks about the assumption from others she would never have kids which was drummed into her, so to be a mum is such a positive thing – but Granny bombarding her with negative comments right away immediately makes Courtney start doubting herself again.
Does Granny want to take Iona away from Courtney?
Granny is very controlling and wants to have something for herself she can look after and be proud of and show off about. That used to be Courtney but now she’s set her sights on the baby. Granny’s life is not in Hollyoaks so its possible she’s got it in her head to take the baby away…
What can you tease about what happens next for Courtney, Jesse, Granny and baby Iona?
This was quite a light-hearted episode but we’ll go down a much darker route from here on in. It’s not happy families for any of them…
What’s it like having a baby on set?
The little girl we’ve got has been really good and chilled out, we’ve been lucky. We sometimes use a fake baby but for close ups it’s better to use a real one as it’s obvious when you’re not! The mum of the baby playing Iona has been great and lets me practice handling the baby for rehearsals if I need to, obviously it’s a little different for me than it is for anyone else on the show. There’s a few more logistics!
Do you feel pressure at portraying parents with disabilities on TV with this storyline?
It’s important for me to represent disability in a positive and accurate light, definitely. If it’s not then not only does it give the audience false ideas about what it’s like, it makes me look a little bit stupid because I’ve obviously got a very good idea of what its like living with a disability – I may not have any children yet but I’m adamant it has to be portrayed with total accuracy.
Did you do a lot of research?
The show’s research team worked with the Leonard Cheshire charity throughout the storyline and I spoke to a lady in a wheelchair who has two children which was really interesting. I have experience with disability and going about my daily life but looking after a child too is a different matter. She was helpful and really positive, and said everything just works out because you learn for yourself as you go along, which was really good to hear. It’s a good thing for Hollyoaks to show as well. The pregnancy has had its obstacles but that’s an outside force to the idea of Courtney being incapable herself of being a parent.
What would you like to happen next?
I would love Jesse and Courtney to get married and have a big wedding! They’re just the cutest couple ever on telly! She’s positive and upbeat but can also be stubborn, and he brings out the silly side of her which I really enjoy playing. I’d also like to see her taking control from Granny with Iona and for Granny to see the error of her ways, but I don’t think that’s likely…
Hollyoaks continues on Friday 22 December on E4 at 7pm, and on Channel 4 at 6pm, then returns from Wednesday 27 December on E4 at 7pm, and Channel 4 at 6.30pm.