Hollyoaks has killed off Gavin Armstrong, finally bringing the disgraced Detective Sergeant’s reign of terror to an end.
Returning to the village having engineered his release from prison by blackmailing Milo Entwistle into helping him or risk his secret being exposed to the Cunningham family – that he was responsible for the deaths of Gordon and Helen 13 years ago – Armstrong sneaked around in a Santa outfit scaring former victim Cindy and daughter Holly.
But tonight’s special Christmas episode on E4 climaxed with a slapstick Home Alone-style showdown at the Cunninghams’ where Milo accidentally killed his nemesis by throwing a pan of water over him while he was tied up in some faulty fairy lights, electrocuting him to death… As soap exits go, it’s certainly unique.
“It was an accident!” says Nathan Morris, aka Milo. “He’s already dealing with the guilt of the crash that killed Gordon and Helen all those years ago, and now he’s just accidentally caused another death. It’s important to not make Milo seem like a murderer though – he’s an anti-hero. He nakes mistakes and does bad things, but he feels terrible about it afterwards and tries to make amends. For all the trouble he causes, he has a good heart.”
Considering it marked the death of a villainous character, Hollyoaks played it with a surprisingly light touch, wearing their filmic references visibly on their sleeve. “You can do bonkers things with Milo,” laughs Morris. “It allows the writers to have more fun and makes the character stand out. I particularly loved the influences and references in this episode.
“I feel sorry for Milo, I dont know he he gets himself into these situations. He’s a cross between Ted Bundy and Frank Spencer!”
Steph Waring, who plays Cindy Cunningham, also praises the darkly comic method Armstrong was dealt with. “It’s not a traditional way of being killed off,” she grins. “But being electrocuted by Christmas lights could genuinely happen! It’s so bonkers it’s brilliant. And very festive.”
Of course this marks the end of Andrew Hayden-Smith’s time on the show, and despite being Cindy’s tormentor on screen Waring is full of praise for her departing co-star. “I love Andrew, he’s a dream to work with. I’m missing him and gutted he’s gone. But it’s nice to see Armstrong finally get his comeuppance.”
Morris is wondering how fans will react to Milo being the one to finish off the corrupt copper: “I imagine a lot of people will be sad to see Armstrong go. He’s a great character. And it was all self-defence, it wasn’t calculated – plus Armstrong was a monster!”
What does this mean for Milo’s future? Surely the Cunninghams’ will find out at some point he killed their parents and is on a mission to protect the clan that has already caused more harm than good?
“There’s lots of good twists coming up for him in 2018,” teases Morris, who is also nominated as Best Newcomer at the National TV Awards. “We’ll learn more about his past, and more secrets will emerge about him. It’s interesting for me as an actor that he’s not a conscious villain – he doesn’t do bad for bad’s sake. Poor Milo!”
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.