The aftermath of Kyle Kelly’s suicide in Hollyoaks will see his family and friends struggle to make sense of the tragedy, none more so than fiancée Nancy Osborne who is stunned to discover he kept his mental health issues hidden for so long.
In an exclusive interview with RadioTimes.com, actress Jessica Fox admitted she was aware viewers may have found her alter ego unsympathetic in the build-up to Kyle’s death, but insists it was true to the story and the nuances of Nancy’s own journey within it.
“I think she has come across as uncaring at times and I was worried about that,” she reveals. “Nancy is so black and white in her views and goes full throttle often without facts or reasons. I knew there would be a backlash in how she treated Kyle in the last few weeks, but the explanation is that Nancy didn’t know he was suffering.
“If I was with someone that behaved erratically, let me down and put my kids’ lives in danger, then I’d think her responses are valid and I’d understood why she behaved the way she did. The audience knew the whole picture, and the struggle Kyle went through, but Nancy herself was not aware of that.
“When she finds out she missed it yet always felt she was empathetic, caring and clever but she got it wrong, it will be incredibly difficult to deal with.”
Upon learning ex-husband Darren Osborne had been a confidant to Kyle as they had both buried their battles with depression, Nancy immediately lashed out and blamed her former spouse for the shocking turn of events.
“Nancy doesn’t take a moment to think as she should do,” says Fox. “The person she really wants to shout at and ask why they did it is gone, so she lashes out at the one closest to her which is Darren.
“They are not together but have a shared history and shorthand with one another that never goes away. Nancy is desperate for someone to explain the chain of events so she can understand it, but it’s not that simple. She wants it to make sense and the only way she can achieve that in the moment is to scream and shout.”
Discovering for the first time the extent of Kyle’s illness through Darren and his own admissions, Nancy is horrified he never confided in her about being sectioned or his previous suicide attempts. As Darren feels guilty at turning his back on his co-dependent friendship with Kyle to focus on his recovery, Fox reveals the estranged couple will be drawn together by the experience.
“Initially I don’t think she has quite heard the fact Darren too has been suffering, as Kyle’s death alone is such a lot to process. When she finds out the levels of depression he suffered she refuses to let anyone else go down Kyle’s path.”
Fox warns the long-term impact of this tragic event will change Nancy’s life forever, so who can she turn to for support when she’s usually the person holding it together?
“All her friends will try hard to be there for her: John Paul, Cindy, Luke, Mandy, but her real rock will possibly be her kids. They are going to be her reason to put one foot in front of the other every day.”
The hard-hitting plot has been in the pipeline for some time, and Fox reveals was always knew it would result in Rickitt leaving the show after three years.
“I’m incredibly sad we’ve lost Adam, he bought such an energy to the show and to Nancy that I loved. He was fantastic to work with and is a great loss to Hollyoaks, but if you have to lose someone as great as he is then this is a deserving storyline to go out on. It will definitely leave a legacy.”