Hollyoaks Favourites launches on Thursday 2nd April on E4 at 7pm, filling the schedule gap now the soap is down to two episodes a week with classic instalments from the archives, beginning with the 2013 wedding of Mercedes McQueen to Dr Paul Browning.
The first throwback selected for a rerun, with a specially-filmed new introduction by ex-cast member Jorgie Porter, will delight long-term fans who lapped up the chaotic romance between the future landlady and murdering medic. RadioTimes.com takes you back in time, with the dastardly doctor himself Joseph Thompson, as our exclusive guide through the horrible history of Mercy and Paul…
Who was Dr Browning?
Suave but sleazy Dr Paul Browning met Mercedes McQueen in 2012 during her escort days, but their hook-ups went from business to pleasure and they became a proper couple. Initially used by mercenary Mercy as a way of making her on/off lover Riley Costello jealous, the couple’s mutual dark sides proved an irresistible attraction and despite the doctor murdering nurse Lynsey Nolan (eventually pinned on Riley after his death) Ms McQueen couldn’t resist the posh bad boy.
“Mercedes and Browning were like a runaway train,” recalls Thompson. “The writers hit upon a dynamic of opposites attract, it’s a common thing when you’re drawn to someone you shouldn’t be, but there is an undeniable chemistry. Me and Jen Metcalfe worked really well together and were good mates, we loved the relationship.”
What happened at his wedding to Mercedes?
By 2013 Browning had convinced Mercy to be his wife (he was husband number three) but she accused him of having an affair with doctor Lindsey Butterfield (another medical professional later revealed to be a serial killer!). Paul broke up a vicious catfight between the women and got a punch from Lindsey’s fella Joe Roscoe, then literally dragged Mercedes kicking and screaming down the aisle.
“The wedding episodes have got a bit of everything,” says Thompson. “Fights, revelations, will they/won’t they tension – it was a crazy roller coaster. Looking back it was definitely a high point and the peak of their relationship, Jen and I were so lucky and we loved seeing what they were going to put us through next with each script.
“I remember this huge, cheesy picture of them being next to the altar – it was so perfectly egotistical and ostentatious and very true to who they were. We filmed on location which didn’t happen often, and it was great having so many cast together for this big set piece. Hollyoaks really was like a family atmosphere.”
When did Dr Browning leave and who killed him?
The sinister sociopath spiralled into full-on villainy after the wedding and got rid of anyone who stood in the way of his obsession with his new wife. He tried to rape Lindsey, seduced Cindy Cunningham (her little boy Hilton is his son) then tried to bump her off, along with mother-in-law Myra McQueen. He was banged up but escaped from prison for a final showdown with Mercy.
Lindsey and Cindy saved Mercedes and in October 2013 the trio killed the devilish doctor between them with a shovel – though it was Mercy who delivered the final blow.
“I can’t begrudge them killing him and getting away with it, he had it coming and his time was up! After he died he was still causing trouble as his body was moved around various places, the freezer in Price Slice, the attic, then eventually he was bundled into a car and chucked off a cliff. I remember people keeping me in the loop about where his corpse was. There’s no coming back from that!”
What happened to the actor who played him?
“I loved the character but I left to move to New York where my girlfriend was living, she’s now my wife, so it all worked out. Since Hollyoaks I’ve been working in TV and theatre in the States and also doing bits back in the UK, just ticking along as a working actor.
“I’m so pleased the wedding is being shown again, Jen dropped me a line last week saying they’d picked this as the first one and it made me so proud thinking back to my time on the show. And we need a bit of fun and entertainment right now, I hope the fans enjoy the trip down memory lane.”
Hollyoaks Favourites airs Wednesday-Friday on E4 at 7pm. Catch new episodes of Hollyoaks on Monday and Tuesday on C4 at 6.30pm/E4 at 7pm.