Hollyoaks Later saw an explosive end for serial killer Breda McQueen as she perished in the burning pig farm, ending her reign of terror and bringing Moya Brady’s time on the soap to a close.
Nasty nanny Breda had notched up numerous victims as part of her twisted mission to rid the world of unfit fathers in order to protect their children. Her murderous secret was finally exposed when daughter-in-law Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) found Tony Hutchinson (Nick Pickard) held captive at the farm.
Trapping her prisoners, along with children Sylver McQueen (David Tag) and Goldie McQueen (Chelsee Healey), bonkers Breda torched the pig farm believing they’d all find redemption in heaven – only for her son to stab her to death and leave her to burn in the wreckage.
In a candid chat with RadioTimes.com, Brady reveals why she disagreed with her character’s grisly fate, and also tells us about her involvement in one of TV’s most anticipated dramas of 2020.
How did you feel about Breda dying?
Why can’t she carry on forever? I think she should’ve lived. She was fighting the good fight and it was a real shame to kill her because she is a strong old lady and we don’t see enough of them on TV. My vision was to have her still out there – they let Silas live because men are allowed to be strong. Women have to be punished.
Did you enjoy playing the role?
I absolutely love Breda, she’s fantastic and am proud to have played her. Now she’s gone it means a line is drawn under it which is always good, it puts a full-stop on the character and a sense of completion which is satisfying. I feel like I’ve been doing my own little movie – this was my Hamlet!
Were you surprised it was Sylver who killed her?
It’s like a massive Greek tragedy, there’s shades of Oedipus or Medea as she tried to kill who her own son. But she doesn’t see it as killing, she thinks she is taking him with her to salvation. But that Mercedes had to go and stick her nose in!
How did being post-watershed affect the episode, was it too violent?
I think it was right for the material, and fitting that Breda goes out in such a blaze of glory that is quite larger than life. It was just like making a normal episode but with more blood and we could go further. Hollyoaks pushes boundaries in the usual slot anyway, the only main difference here was the violence. We had a stunt person because of all the smoke and fighting. I’m so lazy, I couldn’t wait to get home and put my pyjamas on – Breda’s been running round the village for 20 months, she’s never off her feet!
What were your highlights from your Hollyoaks experience?
I’ve had some amazing leading men. Karl Collins (Louis Loveday) and I did some incredible work in our pastiche of Misery when he was my hostage. Jimmy McKenna (Jack Osbourne) was a dream, he works in exactly the same way as me, really old school. Nick Pickard was a blast and so lovely to work with. I also liked the tenderness between Breda and Goldie in my scenes with Chelsee.
Was it hard to defend Breda’s actions?
No, those men shouldn’t have done what they did! Breda was a feminist of the highest order, a woman’s woman. She wanted to protect other women and not see them messed around by errant men, which I’m afraid still goes on after all the fighting women have done. Every single man in the village is sketchy and would’ve been in danger if Breda had lived – there wouldn’t have been anyone left! But nature loves a vacuum so as soon as one goes, another one is waiting to took over…
Did the audience reaction change the more people she killed?
They turned against her after Harry, which was really predictable. Breda delivered his baby in the middle of the village and the was the catalyst of why he had to go – but everybody’s on the pretty boy’s side, not the old lady’s! Harry was no angel, he left someone to die – his history was chequered. I don’t think Breda was any worse than anybody else in that village. In fact, she was a cut above!
What other projects have you got lined up?
I’m doing a spot on Boys, the new Russell T Davies drama for Channel 4, playing a character called Millie. I am looking forward to that, I’ve worked with Russell before (in a Doctor Who episode from 2006, Love and Monsters) and it’s always a pleasure, the living genius that he is!
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