The dust is barely settling on Hollyoaks' action-packed autumn which saw the climax of the far right radicalisation storyline, the annual stunt involving a runaway crane and the mystery of 'Who Shot Mercedes?', but Christmas is around the corner which means yet more drama ahead.
Not be outdone by its soap rivals, Hollyoaks is about to serve its most ambitious Christmas and New Year yet. RadioTimes.com dusts off the crystal ball and looks into the future to the festive season and beyond - and we mean beyond…
Flash forward to 2020
An hour-long episode showing on Monday 30th December shows the locals ringing in the new year, kicking off an audacious storyline with a time-jump 12 months ahead to New Year's Eve, 2020. Brief flashes of the future show tantalising glimpses of characters in surprising, often dangerous situations which will leave fans wondering how exactly they get there over the next year.
Much of the future footage revolves around the younger cast being involved in county lines drug dealing, which Hollyoaks is set to explore throughout 2020 - expect the Morgans and Osbornes to be front and centre. The recent winter trailer showed Juliet Quinn a year from now looking very agitated with new hair and a scratched face, desperately declaring her love - but who for? And how did she get that scratch?
John Paul McQueen and Warren Fox return
Two comebacks teased since the summer are almost upon us - December sees the return of fan favourites James Sutton, briefly seen earlier this month as sensitive teacher John Paul but back full-time over the festive period, and Jamie Lomas aka notorious villain Warren Fox, who left the regular cast two years ago and made a surprise cameo back in July.
JP has found closure from his confrontation with rapist Finn O'Connor and returns to be at big sister Mercedes' side as she recovers from her shooting, but what brings Foxy and the twins he stole from their mum Sienna back to the village is as yet unknown.
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Mitchell comes out
Scott Drinkwell and Mitchell Deveraux have been through a roller coaster to be together, breaking poor Cleo McQueen's heart in the process, but it seems Dr D is ready to come out of the closet this Christmas. Going on their first proper date to the village festive market, the boys are ready to go public until they bump into a familiar face… Is Mitchell really in a place to admit his true sexuality to his family?
Martine's baby bombshell
It's not just Mitchell who's got something to hide chez Deveraux, as Walter cruelly reminds daughter Martine what a bad mother she was to her son, which gets her thinking about the child she gave away - Mitchell's long-lost twin! Begging Walter to forgive her for the past, Martine is determined to make amends for her poor parenting - does this mean she's ready to fill Mitchell in on the fact he has a secret twin?
Sienna Blake thinks she's been dealt a Christmas miracle when sister, and surrogate mum, Liberty Savage reveals she's pregnant. Little does she know her other half Brody Hudson slept with Lib for real when they learnt Sienna's last embryo wasn't viable, but they've lied she was implanted at the clinic… Will the truth about the baby's conception be unwrapped along with the pressies on Christmas Day?
Luke's tragic secret
Troubled Luke Morgan and childhood friend Cindy Cunningham got engaged after a whirlwind romance and thought they had a another chance at happiness after years of individual misery, then Mr Morgan was diagnosed with terminal diagnosis FTD (a type of dementia) and he dumped his wife-to-be as he didn't want her to know about his health crisis.
Luke has begged best mate Darren Osborne to keep quiet and as the festive season approaches heartbroken Cindy wants to punish Mr Morgan for how he treated her - will he come clean about the real reason they split up?
Can Maxine make amends?
She pretended she was terminally ill and was sensationally exposed as a liar to the locals, but even though Maxine Kinsella was in the grip of psychological disorder Munchausen's syndrome that caused her to compulsively lie she struggled to gain any sympathy or forgiveness - especially from husband Damon who ended up in prison for fraud as a result of her spiralling fabrications.
This Yule, skint, lonely Max is desperate to make amends and give daughter Minnie a decent Christmas, but who, if anyone, will help her?
Nancy tells Mandy she slept with Darren
Nancy Osborne hosts a New Year's Eve party for her pals, but in amongst the flash forwards to the future there's some revelations about the past that are exposed when she publicly announces to Mandy Morgan she slept with ex-husband Darren Osborne when they were trapped in the tunnels during the stunt! The bombshell blows Hollyoaks' heritage couples apart, putting Nancy's relationship with Kyle under huge pressure as well as throwing a spanner in the works for Mandy and Dazzle. Can they come back from this betrayal? Or is it just karma for Mandy for stealing Darren from Nancy in the first place?!
Breda - the end is nigh…
The soap revives its late-night spin-off Hollyoaks Later for a one-off special in January that sees the climax of serial killer Breda McQueen's reign of terror.
The events of Christmas and New Year build up to the post-watershed instalment, which leads directly from the main show, so expect Tony Hutchinson to be discovered in his pig farm prison as Breda starts to seriously lose the plot in trying to cover her tracks. Might there be one more murder from the nasty nanny over the festive period?
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