Discovering your character is about to get shot after someone decides to teach them a lesson following months of abhorrent behaviour might make some soap actors fear for their jobs – but not Hollyoaks‘ Jennifer Metcalfe.
The star, who has played minxy Mercy for 13 years, tells RadioTimes.com she wasn’t scared for her future on the show when told her alter ego would be the victim of a murder attempt. “She’s got about nine lives and I reckon she’s only used about seven, so we’ve got a couple to go. I actually don’t think it’s possible for her to die! Mercedes will be the first person to live forever. She’s immortal!”
She’s only half-joking – Mercedes has got away with some ghastly things and always manages to come back fighting, but Metcalfe does concede that could change one day. “I trust our producer, Bryan Kirkwood, and if he thought that was the end of Mercedes and it was the right decision for the show, that would be fine. But when they told me they were doing the whodunnit I wasn’t worried.”
The actress is refreshingly judgmental on Mercedes, and doesn’t even pretend to defend her actions that lead to seven potential shooters lining up to take aim at her – for various reasons ranging from leaving Grace Black for dead, being suspected of killing Harry Thompson, cheating on her husband Sylver and secretly aborting a baby without knowing who the father was.
“It’s about bloody time,” she laughs. “I’m surprised this hasn’t happened sooner! She’s an absolute wrong one, swanning around, rubbing everyone up the wrong way. Someone needs to stop her, I totally get it. The suspects are perfect, everyone’s got a good reason and a solid motive for wanting to shoot her.”
The shooting scene itself, airing on Tuesday 5th November (E4) is stylised for maximum atmosphere, with a perfect choice of soundtrack. “Mercedes grabs the keys to the Loft club, there’s money and cocaine there and she has her own little party as Murder on the Dancefloor by Sophie Ellis-Bextor plays, then someone comes in and shoots her.
“It was basically three days of me dancing my brains out on my own. Like a private rave. I was proper going for it! You can’t feel silly or self-conscious in that situation, you have to commit. But I heard that song a lot!”
While there’s no chance of the shooting being fatal (“She’s in a coma for three weeks, I just had to lay there in bed!”), did it get Metcalfe contemplating the possibility of one day stepping away from the Dog in the Pond bar permanently?
“Me and Bryan have such a good understanding of what he needs from the character and what I need out of life, and sometimes he gives me those breathers from the show when I need it – as long as we communicate I can see this going on forever.”
Visit our dedicated Hollyoaks page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers