Hollyoaks: Liam Donovan returns – with a new face!

Jude Monk McGowan replaces Maxim Baldry as Jesse's troubled brother

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Hollyoaks is bringing back Liam Donovan more than a year after his departure, with newcomer Jude Monk McGowan replacing original actor Maxim Baldry in the role.

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The troubled Lothario, brother to Jesse and the deceased Adam, and son of gangster Glenn, left in April 2017 after half-sister Grace Black murdered his pregnant lover Eva Falco as revenge for the undercover cop shooting Grace’s best friend, Esther Bloom.

A one-night stand with Courtney Campbell shortly before his exit resulted in a daughter, Iona, with confirmation he was the baby daddy coming shortly after he skipped town.

Since we last saw him, Liam has been living the high life in Magaluf and trying to bury his grief for Eva, and Courtney will be reunited with her daughter’s father when she joins the McQueens in the Spanish resort for Mercedes’ upcoming hen party, while also on dodgy errand for Glenn – and she finds the formerly happy-go-lucky hairdresser somewhat battle-scarred…

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“He’s been grieving the loss of his partner and child,” says McGowan as he teases the character’s comeback. “Liam dealt with it by hiding and burying himself in drugs, alcohol and women. He hasn’t properly dealt with his pain and as a result is in a destructive and dark place.”

Defined by the loss of his child with Eva, McGowan hints Liam will struggle to be a parent to Iona – that’s if he’s allowed to be by protective Courtney. “It’s difficult for him to accept responsibility for Iona because it was an unintentional pregnancy from a one-night stand. The baby Eva was expecting was a future which didn’t happen, and he sees that as being his one shot at having a family.”

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Amy Conachan, who plays Courtney adds: “I think it would take a lot of work for Courtney to ever trust Liam as a dad, so it’s hard to say if he’ll ever have a relationship with Iona. I guess we’ll need to see if he ever steps up but at the moment from when we see him again, it seems unlikely.”

As Liam returns to the Donovan fold, Conachan predicts fireworks among the family. “Jesse will probably accept him back with open arms, but it might be more difficult for Grace. Things between them didn’t end well, so no doubt there will a few personality clashes there! Plus Jesse has stepped in as Iona’s father since Liam left, so it will be interesting to see if that causes any rivalry between the brothers.”

McGowan makes his debut as Liam next week.

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