Ex-EastEnders star Richard Blackwood makes his eagerly-anticipated Hollyoaks debut on Friday 27th March (E4 showing) as Felix Westwood, old flame of Martine Deveraux and long-lost father of triplets Mitchell Deveraux, Celeste Faroe and Toby Faroe.
Sneaky Celeste lures her estranged father to the village pretending Martine wants to reconnect, and Felix has no idea he’s about to be reunited with the children he thought had been given away at birth.
RadioTimes.com spoke exclusively to Blackwood about his new role, and what we can expect as Felix’s arrival reveals even more skeletons hiding in the Deveraux closet…
How would you describe Felix?
It’s a cliché to say he’s charming, but he is very engaging from the beginning. There is more to it – he’s learnt to lure people in as a survival technique because he’s had a very tough life. Felix grew up in a care home and went through a lot of emotional stuff which gave him a “sink or swim” mentality, he won’t let himself get hurt. There might be something else behind the things he does, but he’s not sinister.
Should the audience trust him?
He is trying to be a better person, Martine has talked about what he was like in the past but he’s older now and knows he made mistakes when he was younger. He wants to be better but he’s all about survival – Felix is disconnected from certain emotions and knows they could be his weakness so he puts his defences up.
How does he react at seeing his children again?
It’s big! It throws him a loop because Celeste has got him to the village under false pretences, he has no idea he’s going to see them. But it gives him a vulnerability from the start which connects him to the audience. Seeing this kids really gets to him.
What about Martine?
She is that one person we all have in our lives who can see right through him. He will always be straight and real with her because of the love and respect they had at a time when he had nobody. His connection with Martine is genuine, he doesn’t try to lie to her.
Does he suspect Toby and Celeste have a dark side?
Felix has come from the wrong side of the tracks and experienced the harsh side of life, he can recognise those who have come from a similar place. There’s a saying, ‘real recognises real’, you can see a darkness in others if you have it. Felix doesn’t know the full extent with Toby and Celeste of course, but I discussed with the director adding in a look in one scene implying he can sense something.
Will we learn more about why the kids were given away?
Questions definitely get answered, but we won’t be dragging out the story. You’ll be on the edge of your seats but once the backstory is dealt with, the next instalment of what we’re getting to with Felix is even greater…
Had you worked with Kelle Bryan (Martine) before? You were both pop stars in the 1990s…
We’ve known each other for well over 20 years. When I was 17 I was at college with two members of Eternal, the band Kelle was in. We’ve had a connection since then and from when I did MTV. We are very good friends and also did a play together over 10 years ago, so the chemistry is there and we are totally comfortable with each other. Whatever the scene requires it works, it’s a dream to act alongside someone you get along with it as it resonates and shows on screen.