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Hollyoaks' James set to confess to shooting Mercedes - but to who?

"He needs to share the burden," reveals Gregory Finnegan

hollyoaks james and grace
Published: Friday, 17th January 2020 at 12:41 pm

Guilt takes its toll on Hollyoaks' James Nightingale (Gregory Finnegan) in the coming weeks as the dark secret he teamed up with Grace Black (Tamara Wall) to shoot Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) comes to light, pushing the tormented lawyer to confess the crime to another character.


The revelation Breda McQueen was responsible for the murder of James's lover Harry Thompson, and not gobby landlady Mercy, has thrown Mr Nightingale into a spin and he's desperate to come clean, unlike co-conspirator gangster Grace.

hollyoaks james nightingale

"He's crumbling to know his motive to shoot Mercedes meant nothing," says Hollyoaks fan favourite Finnegan, exclusively speaking to "James has a crisis of conscience and is ready to confess to the police. Grace is there to stop him but in the not-too-distant future he will take someone into his confidence, but I can't say who…

"It just all becomes too much," teases the actor, shortlisted in the Best Serial Drama Performance category at this year's National Television Awards, which take place on Tuesday 28th January. "He can't do it any more and needs to share the burden. Anyone close to him knowing he is capable of doing this would be damaging to the relationship, though. He could just tell Mercedes outright, but every time the opportunity comes up Grace is on his back trying to silence him.

"By telling someone he's hoping to get support, but that may be unlikely."

hollyoaks jesse donovan

Jesse Donovan overhears big sister Grace discussing what her and James are hiding on his wedding day to Courtney Campbell, which puts something of a dampener on the nuptials. Confronting his sibling with his newly-acquired knowledge, Grace faces a huge challenge as battles to continue the cover-up.

Finnegan claims his character has gone from conniving to remorseful having learnt lessons from his past, and enjoys playing his more vulnerable side. "James has had a lot of doing the wrong thing and seeing the consequences of that, and now genuinely wants to be a better person. But he finds that a struggle. The last four years have been a tussle in each direction for him."

It doesn't look like his life love will provide much solace, as the surprise hook-up with Liam Donovan is fizzling out, and returned ex John Paul McQueen will have his head turned elsewhere.

hollyoaks james nightingale john paul mcqueen

"James regards him and Liam as 'frenemies with benefits' and has started to pull back from that and drifting towards John Paul, but that won't be easy as he has a new love interest joining the show! I think James might be flying solo for a while which is probably for the bet. He can get himself back on track and sort himself out…"

The actor is self-effacing about his chances at the NTAs, despite beating the likes of Danny Dyer to win the public vote for Best Actor at last year's British Soap Awards. "It's wonderful but I don't expect to be getting up on the night. But I said the same thing about the Soap Awards - I'm not sure lightning strikes twice, but we'll see!"

You can vote free online at or by phone on 0905 647 2020. Votes must be in by 12 pm on Tuesday 28th January.


Visit our dedicated Hollyoaks page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers.


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