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Hollyoaks kills off Liam Donovan - Jude Monk McGowan reacts to shock exit

"They told me there was something incredibly dramatic planned - and I wasn't disappointed!"

hollyoaks liam donovan
Published: Wednesday, 25th March 2020 at 7:25 pm

Liam Donovan lies dead after a tense showdown with his enemies climaxed in a dramatic siege that saw the Hollyoaks gangster meet his maker at the hands of big sister, Grace Black.


Gathering villagers who had crossed him for a sinister 'devil's dinner party', he held Mercedes McQueen, Grace Black, James Nightingale, Maxine Kinsella, Sylver McQueen and John Paul McQueen hostage in the pub.

Revealing to Mercy it was Grace and James who shot her, he ordered his ex to kill Ms Black for her part in brother Jesse's death - before Warren Fox and armed police swooped in to defuse the situation. Liam then threatened to throw Mercedes down the cellar steps until Grace intervened and pushed her brother to his death. spoke to Jude Monk McGowan, who took over from Maxim Baldry as loopy Liam in 2018, about his spectacular exit.

How do you feel about leaving the show?
On a soap, you are braced that any time the boss asks you in for a meeting they could be saying goodbye to the character, so you make your peace with that. About 9 months ago I was told they'd planned something incredibly dramatic for Liam's exit and I wasn't disappointed. We had a huge build-up and I'm grateful they've kept me as busy as they always have, and the writers were inspired enough to keep having fun with him.

Did you feel more pressure with such a big exit?
I'd been so busy you can't look further than the next week, you have to focus on the work in front of you. My main concern was that Liam was sent off in a sufficient way - and I think we've done that!

What impact will Liam's death have on the characters left behind?
Grace is going to have to contend with the fact she doesn't have any family left, apart from little Curtis, after pushing her brother down the stairs! Certainly that is going to be interesting, but some characters I'm sure will not look back very fondly at him because he wasn't always pleasant! There won't be many candles burning for Liam Donovan after this week…

hollyoaks liam donovan mercedes mcqueen maxine kinsella

Do you think Grace was justified in what she did?
Potentially he might have thrown Mercedes down the stairs so Grace was acting out of self-defence, but she herself is a morally questionable person who the audience like enough to let her get away with reprehensible things. In the Grace universe I'm sure she'll feel lonely and full of self-doubt about whether it was the right thing to do - but I shouldn't imagine she'll dwell on it too long!

Did you think there was any unfinished business with Liam?
I feel that fans would’ve liked to have seen more with the Liam and James relationship. I get the impression there was something planned for them, then other things came into play and they dispensed with it. Obviously I really enjoyed working with Greg Finnegan and it was a big turning point for the character.

Could Liam and James have lasted as a couple?
I don’t know if Liam is the marrying type! Potentially they could’ve had a longer stab at being the village kingpins and caused a bit more havoc, and maybe had a big showdown with Grace.

hollyoaks grace james liam

What will you miss about playing Liam?
Playing a nasty character affords you the opportunity to touch on an unpleasantness you’re not allowed to in real life - and really shouldn’t! I did struggle with his misogyny, especially as the women I’ve been lucky to work with are so lovely and accommodating - he was especially horrendous to Maxine and Lisa and I had to turn on some uncomfortable, horrible things as the character. But I don't envy the likes of Sylver who always have to do the right thing and put others first, it's boring!

What were the highlights of Liam's relationship with Mercedes and working with Jennifer Metcalfe?
We are very fond of each other in real life but oddly both enjoyed filming this week and the spiralling acrimoniousness, viciousness and spite between them - that kind of stuff is so fun to shoot. But because we're such good friends it meant digging deep acting wise in order to do those scenes justice. The end of their relationship was the most fun.


Visit our dedicated Hollyoaks page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.


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