Kieron Richardson's temporary departure from Hollyoaks has begun with his character Ste Hay's final scenes airing on Tuesday 19th November's E4 showing.
Ste's desperate attempt to escape the far right extremists that groomed him ended in a dramatic showdown last week, in which group leader Stuart Sumner plunged to his death from a clifftop.
- “I escaped the far right – society has to accept people can change” – the ‘real’ Ste speaks out on Hollyoaks extremism story
With the aid of the government's counter-terrorist initiative Prevent, Ste has managed to extricate himself from the organisation and is embarking on the path to de-radiclisation.
But his association with anti-Islamists Stuart and Jonny Baxter, who targeted local Muslim family the Maaliks with intimidation and violence over the last year, means he's got a long way to go before he can be fully forgiven by everybody in the community.
Deciding to leave the village to stay with a friend in Newcastle, continue to get support from Prevent and generally get his head together after his traumatic 12 months, Ste sent an emotional group text to relatives Leela Lomax and Peri Lomax.
Explaining he needed to come to terms with his own shame and behaviour while brainwashed, before he could expect others to accept he'd changed, Ste took a black cab out of Hollyoaks. It brings the controversial radicalisation storyline to a close and begins a temporary break for Richardson, who announced earlier this year he would be taking time out from playing Ste when the plot concluded.
Where can I see Kieron Richardson while he's not in Hollyoaks?
Speaking about the end of the storyline, the actor said: "It's kind of sad it's over really. Initially I was a bit nervous and wary of taking the story on, but now the final bits are on screen it's quite sad. Going into it I had a lot of trepidation, but coming out the other side it's now one of my most favourite storylines I've ever done.
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"The most important thing is the message it has brought and hopefully it's highlighted an issue that needed to be talked about."
During his absence, Richardson will be starring in a touring stage production of 1990s TV drama Band of Gold, alongside fellow former soap stars Gaynor Faye, Laurie Brett and Shayne Ward, and he's revealed a personal link to the original series that inspired him to take part:
"My dad used to work in TV and I used to visit the set of Band of Gold when I was a kid at the weekend. It made me want to get into acting, and now here I am doing the stage version 20 odd years later! The tour starts this month and runs until March next year which is super exciting."
Ste is expected to return to Hollyoaks in spring 2020 - will he be able to move on and put the past behind him?
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