Hollyoaks 2023 preview: 12 spoilers ahead as producer teases big plots
Weddings! Returns! Stunts! Soap boss Lucy Allan exclusively reveals what's in store.
The last 12 months in Hollyoaks saw the village rocked by the return – and demise – of serial killer Silas Blissett, devastated by deaths of major fan favourites including Verity Hutchinson, and reeling from twists such as Warren Fox discovering gangster boss Norma Crow was his long-lost mother!
In an exclusive chat with RadioTimes.com, executive producer Lucy Allan reveals 2023 is set to be even bigger for the Channel 4 soap. Buckle up for our biggest new year storyline preview yet as we dish up 12 sensational spoilers coming your way!
1. Wedding bells for James and Ste?
Fan favourites James Nightingale (Gregory Finnegan) and Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) are apart right now, but not for long!
“They are an unlikely pairing but work so well, and are a huge couple for us this year. There is hope for reconciliation and possibly the sound of distant bells looming… Look out for something joyful around Valentine’s Day which cements that relationship. Lots of things will challenge them, not least James coping with Juliet’s cancer, having already lost his mother. James will make some poor decisions that Ste rails against but ultimately they will come together.”
2. Can Norma save dying Warren?
Warren Fox (Jamie Lomas) needs a liver transplant or he’ll die and Norma (Glynis Barber) is a match – except she doesn’t know it because Grace Black (Tamara Wall) has lied that she isn’t! What does this mean for Foxy’s future?
“When the truth comes out and Norma knows she is able to save Warren, to do that she’d have to admit she loves her son – but can she? Warren and Norma are murdering gangsters but their greatest challenge may be admitting they care about each other. Throw in a new love interest for Warren, someone outside of his criminal world who wants nothing to do with it, and Norma’s reaction to that and you have a big impact on their dynamic.”
3. Ethan causes trouble for Sienna
Sienna Blake (Anna Passey) has moved on with Ethan Williams (Matthew-James Bailey), but does she still hold a torch for Warren?
“They are interlinked forever through their twins and will always be in each other's orbit, which makes for great drama. I’m excited about Sienna and Ethan as a couple, it’s fun and troubled. Sienna is her own worst enemy but we’ll see Ethan is also guilty of that when he devises an ill-thought-through plan that drives a year-long story for them, with a new character in the mix.”
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4. Mercedes and Felix torn apart
A-listers Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) and Felix Westwood (Richard Blackwood) are setting the screen alight with their sizzling chemistry, but their new romance will be fraught with complications.
“Felix dobbed killer Bobby into the police, and choosing between her son and her lover won’t be easy for Mercedes. It’s been a slow build to this relationship to make it more credible, and Felix will struggle this year when that bright, happy veneer he wears is heavily challenged. Will him and Mercedes pull together or fall apart when the truth of that situation comes out?”
5. Who is the mystery returning character?
The Westwood flat will have a new tenant, with a familiar face...
“A new character moves in – well, I say new, but you might have seen them in the show before! We’re excited about creating a strong female group in that household and the idea of Felix having to hold his own as a man among them!”
6. Camping trip disaster
Hollyoaks High’s teenage gang, including Leah Barnes (Ela-May Demircan) and DeMarcus Westwood (Tomi Ade), will be at the centre of a storyline that kicks off on location during a school trip.
“There is a big crisis for that group of characters when they go camping in February, the consequences of which will be very far-reaching. We are loving the teens, especially with the addition of Honour’s niece Shing Lin Leong (Izzie Yip) who arrived recently and has landed really well.”
7. Charlie spirals when Nancy leaves
Prison, being groomed into drug dealing, underage sex, violence – it’s been a tough few years for Charlie Dean (Charlie Behan), and the teen will buckle under the strain with a big issue-led storyline.
“We want to interrogate teenage mental health, a genuine crisis in this country, through Charlie. Nancy leaves temporarily to accommodate Jess Fox’s maternity leave – how does Darren Osborne (Ashley Taylor Dawson) cope without the person who holds that family together? It’s fair to say he doesn’t always make the right decisions, and Charlie will struggle in school, in relationships and will feel Nancy’s absence. Darren has been through his own mental health journey – can he support Charlie, who is denying his own problems in that area?”
8. Juliet’s cancer battle
Juliet Nightingale (Niamh Blackshaw) was recently given a devastating cancer diagnosis and has a tough battle ahead in 2023.
“Juliet rails against the injustice of her situation and hates being told what she can and can’t do, although in this case that could be the key to saving her life. The instinct for Peri Lomax (Ruby O'Donnell) to become her carer is challenging for Juliet who doesn’t want to be seen as a victim. Juliet and Peri are a real love story that has had a huge audience reaction, so we also want to enjoy that in the midst of a tough plot.”
9. Romeo’s new romance
Owen Warner’s star is on the rise after being runner-up on I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, so it’s no surprise there are big plans for his Hollyoaks alter ego.
“We already had a big plot for Romeo Nightingale before Owen went into the jungle – it’s fortuitous everything went so well! Romeo has a huge love story with newcomer Rayne Royce (played by Neighbours star Jemma Donovan, daughter of Jason), who is an influencer. He’ll face the challenges of a relationship played out in the public domain, while coping with the realities of sister Juliet’s cancer. Romeo falls in love hard, and there are huge consequences for him off the back of this romance.”
10. Who has Beau got his eye on?
Tony’s long-lost son Beau Ramsey (Jon-Paul Bell) is settling into his new job as a teacher, and hoping he can move beyond the scandal from his past that was recently exposed.
“He made a misguided, ill-advised decision to put something online that probably wasn’t his best idea. Beau has hit the ground running as part of the Hutchinson gang and may also form a close relationship with one of our key characters...”
11. Evil Eric: the aftermath
Eric Foster (Angus Castle-Doughty) unleashed a reign of terror that climaxed as the radicalised misogyny story ended with a siege at the pub that put lives in danger, and revealed the extent of how vulnerable schoolboy Mason Chen-Williams (Frank Kauer) has been groomed by online incel forums.
“Mason’s family will realise what’s been happening under their roof. Tony’s lost his sister Verity, his brother Eric is an incel, his wife Diane is seriously injured after the siege – how does he rebuild after all that? The community will ultimately come together to renounce and rebuild.”
12. Spring stunt
Hollyoaks is famous for its spectacular stunts, the most recent being an explosion at the village carnival as the backdrop to the last stand of serial killer Silas Blissett. Are there more set pieces in store?
“Look out for what I’m calling a ‘mini-stunt’ around Mother’s Day. We’ve got structural change coming to the village involving Warren and Norma. There is a story peak in late summer and you might not get an explosion or a flood, but something quite different that we hope is genuinely arresting and throws the story forward for six months...”
Read more: 7 Hollyoaks spoilers for next week: Hunter and Prince fight and Sienna comes clean
Hollyoaks is available to stream on All 4 and airs every weeknight at 6:30pm on Channel 4 and 7pm on E4. Check out more of our Soaps coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
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