Hollyoaks: 12 HUGE spoilers for autumn 2018

Stunts, weddings, scandal and more in our big preview by show boss Bryan Kirkwood

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Hollyoaks is lining up an awesome autumn season packed full of excitement, including two weddings, the unmasking of a killer, new love blossoming, old faces returning and what promises to be the most action-packed October stunt yet.

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Ahead of the launch of the autumn 2018 trailer on Monday 17 September at 5pm (find it on the Hollyoaks Facebook page) Bryan Kirkwood, the show’s executive producer, gives RadioTimes.com an in-depth look at 12 big stories set to burn bright as the nights draw in…

Storm warning
We know how much our audience looks forward to our October stunt every year. We were delighted with the success of the 2017 school explosion, but were keen for a different feel and spectacle. A terrible storm will hit the north west, with Hollyoaks village at its centre – devastation and tragedy will no doubt follow. I can promise massive life changes for a lot of our residents. A number of stories peak with the storm as a backdrop, including Harry preparing to marry Ste but having to choose between him and James, Romeo on the verge of revealing himself as James’s secret son, Dee Dee’s fate, plus Sinead’s much-anticipated return. Will there be any deaths? What do you think…?

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Ollie and Brody abuse aftermath
Autumn sees the dust settling for Brody and Ollie following the revelations of Buster’s abuse, and both characters take very different paths in their recovery. Ollie has been brilliantly courageous and his friendship group expands with the arrival of Juliet Quinn, Romeo’s little sister, joining Imran and Brooke as students at Hollyoaks High. A very delicate romance blossoms with Ollie and one of those girls as we head into the trial of Buster Smith, which is a big story for January.

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New start and new love for Sienna
Sienna is found not guilty for killing her daughter Nico – it was self defence. We were keen to give her a new energy and I pitched to Anna Passey a rebooted version of the character, influenced by her past but with an interesting new direction. There is a burgeoning relationship between Sienna and Brody, two very brave and damaged individuals, which we’re really excited about.

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Darren and Mandy’s affair fallout
It was inevitable the truth would be discovered, but the reveal of the affair doesn’t mean the end of the story. It’s always been grounded in reality and the terrible choices people sometimes make when life doesn’t turn out quite how they’d hoped as they reach their mid to late 30s. The consequences give us amazing and complex stories as we examine a marriage breaking up with children at the heart of it. We’ll see how the characters pick themselves up after this devastation, and the story rightly makes Jessica Fox, one of our longest-serving artists, a star of the autumn as Nancy reacts to her husband cheating with her best friend.

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Mercedes and Russ turns toxic
Twelve years ago, Mercedes and Russ’s romance ended very badly when she cheated on him with Warren Fox. They have fallen back in love but Russ starts to regret his hasty decision to get back with the woman who broke his heart. The relationship has a very toxic edge – Russ is suspicious of Mercedes and Sylver, and his fiancée is the black widow who has a past littered with dead husbands. And a dead man is at the heart of all this…

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Carl’s killer revealed
The murder of Carl Costello is still unresolved, and the culprit remains at large, but we’ll find out who is responsible in November. The discovery of who killed him is I think one of the moments of the year, and is part of a very exciting time in the show for Mercedes, Russ and Sylver.

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McQueens move into the Dog
We love the Nightingales and remain committed to a brilliant future for James, Marnie and Alfie, but with a depleted family it was time for new blood at the Dog and who better to be the next landlady than returning super star Mercedes McQueen! She brings a burst of authority, glamour, chaos, mayhem, fun and sexiness to our most important venue. Nana and Goldie are by her side running the place, and Myra is her cleaner. The pub with the McQueens at the helm will be a very different and exciting place to be.

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Sinead is back
It’s great to have Steph Davis back where she belongs. She is an incredibly talented actress first and foremost, and we’ve put the past behind us. Sinead returns in stunt week at the heart of some big plots. There’s new love in her life in the shape of Laurie Shelby, played by Kyle Pryor formerly of Home and Away, who is Hollyoaks High’s new deputy headmaster. The contrast between this unlikely couple gives us a brand new energy and a great big story for the next year.

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Starry wedding drama
‘Starry’ has huge support but we’re also aware lots of fans are getting behind Harry and James. It’s fantastic for Ste to have an exciting and different nemesis in James. After leaving Amy to die, Harry is irrevocably changed and we felt we had to pay respect to that, he’s a good boy who made a terrible decision but what did that do to him? Harry’s black heart is very appealing so he finds himself torn between Ste, who is finally making a success of his life, or living like the last days of Rome with James! Who he chooses as his wedding to Ste looms is the cornerstone of the stunt episodes.

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Cleo and Joel’s tragic wedding
Nadine Mulkerrin has portrayed so many tough issues in four years as Cleo, from stepdad Pete’s abuse to heroin addiction. Her bulimia is part of her struggle to recover from the ordeal she endured as a teenager. It’s been important for the story to disappear from view for a while, but eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed Cleo’s refusal to wear a bikini in Magaluf which was a quiet seeding of the fact the eating disorder hasn’t gone away. Her wedding to Joel showing on World Mental Health day in October is very different but true to form of our experimental, single strand episodes. The team have made a brilliant and challenging episode exploring the consequences of an ongoing eating disorder.

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Tony’s return
One of our defining stories in 23 years is the death of Tony and Mandy’s baby daughter Grace. With Dee Dee’s illness it was necessary to revisit Tony’s devastation from that, he can’t bear to bury another child and that’s been one of the most compelling elements of this story and given Nick Pickard a chance to shine as one of our best actors. He returns after running out on his family and will be forced to face up to what’s happening.

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Glenn’s final showdown
Glenn has been a terrific baddie and has done some despicable things: shooting his son at point blank range, treating Grace like a dog and making her eat off the floor – it’s been disturbing but great drama. And lovely Bob Cryer couldn’t be less like the monster he plays! The blackmail of Simone, turning Courtney into a drug runner, the manipulation of Maxine and coercive control of Grace all comes together in a very satisfying conclusion. These women are very different, some are lunatic gangsters, some local shopkeepers, but all of them want one thing – to get rid of Glenn Donovan…

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