Drug dealer Jordan Price (Connor Calland) has got his claws into schoolboy Charlie Dean (Charlie Behan) who has become the latest vulnerable teen of Hollyoaks village to be recruited into the sinister county lines network.
While this latest development is disturbing enough, there is worse to come in the shape of incoming villain Victor, the big boss of the drug pushing ring that has infiltrated the sleepy Chester suburb, as Calland warns…
“Victor is the guy Jordan reports to,” he reveals, speaking exclusively to RadioTimes.com. “The pressure from above makes Jordan push through whenever his moral compass fluctuates about recruiting these young kids. Any worries are suppressed.
“If people think Jordan is nasty they’ve not got a clue what is coming for them! The way Jordan treats Sid and Juliet, that is how Jordan is around Victor. It all goes up the chain.”
Vicious Victor has thus far only been unseen on the other end of furtive phone calls, with Jordan’s steely exterior dropping whenever he contacts his superior, but Ripper Street star Benjamin O’Mahony has been cast in the role and he is expected to appear on screen in early summer.
His arrival will shed more light on Jordan and show how he was once a scared, naive lad like Charlie or Sid, before he was exploited by the nefarious network into being a narcotics mule.
“You’ll get to understand why he is the way he is,” says Calland. “The story he told Peri about his troubled childhood and how he was recruited was genuine, but he didn’t intend to emotionally open up so much to her. He got caught in the moment and then backtracked a bit. It’s part of the true story of his background.”
As we realise how far Victor is prepared to go to ensure his product is pushed in the local playground, could the audience start to sympathise with Jordan and the conniving character could be redeemed? “It’s a big ask considering what he’s done, and what he will do,” replies Calland. “He is troubled underneath it all and a victim of the system himself. If you don’t get out and get help, he is an example of how it can turn out.”
It’s not just kids ensnared into this criminal underworld, troubled grown-up Kyle Kelly is also one of Jordan’s clients. As he battles mental health issues and MS symptoms, Jordan is only too happy to take advantage of his vulnerabilities and continue to flog him weed, which also allows him to keep Charlie in his grasp.
“Kyle confronted Jordan when he discovered he had recruited Charlie, who is effectively his stepson, but Kyle doesn’t have a leg to stand on,” continues Calland. “He can easily manipulate and worm his way out of this situation as Jordan has the upper hand over Kyle – he won’t want his fiancée Nancy to know he’s scoring drugs from him.”
A question mark still hangs over Jordan’s ultimate fate as December’s flash-forward to New Year’s Eve 2020 showed a body bag being zipped up, with drug pusher Price being prime suspect among the speculating audience as to the identity of the deceased.
“I’ve been told several times the dead body is me by fans,” he laughs. “All their theories sort of makes sense, which makes it worse. I have no idea if it’s true. I’m in the show and they seem to know more than me!”