Hollyoaks‘ Sienna Blake (Anna Passey) and Sinead Shelby (Stephanie Davis) have finally got justice as rapist Laurie Shelby (Kyle Pryor) was locked up for his crimes on Wednesday 26th June (E4 showing).
The downfall of the dangerous teacher has meant closure for his victims – wife Sinead was subjected to a series of sexual assaults and coercive psychological abuse, and co-worker Sienna found herself gaslighted when her sexual harassment case against him was foiled thanks to his manipulations.
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Confronted by Sinead’s protective mum Diane Hutchinson (Alex Fletcher) for putting her daughter in prison, Laurie lost his cool and tried to rape her only for Sinead to intervene and push him over a balcony and land him in hospital. While Laurie survived the scuffle, CCTV footage provided evidence of the attempted sexual assault which led to his imprisonment.
As the characters pick up the pieces of their lives, RadioTimes.com spoke to Passey about the much-praised storyline which Hollyoaks has confirmed is not over yet, with Laurie set to return at some point, and what’s in store for fan favourite Sienna in the aftermath of defeating the evil Mr Shelby…
Were you pleased with how Laurie was eventually punished?
When I picked up the script with the scene of Sienna going to the hospital I thought she was going to finish the job and kill him off! There was a moment where she loomed over his bed with a pillow and, as is the joy of playing Sienna, you didn’t know what she was going to do. Half the audience expected and was rooting for her to kill him, but people were even more thrilled with the outcome of her wanting to scare him and show him what it felt like to be intimidated, then walk away stronger. It was great. They are relieved she didn’t kill him and get sent to prison, but liked the idea she might’ve!
What can you tell us about Laurie’s return?
I can’t say too much but the audience won’t have to wait too long, he is back during the summer. He’s such a good character, seeing the reaction it seems they hate him but they love hating him! To give the audience a little bit more will be nice. Laurie will be back and its going to be dramatic, he’s not shuffling back in with his tail between his legs.
The scene where Sienna explains what Laurie did to the pupils has had a big reaction, why was that?
It was refreshing in that you thought Sienna was going to tell the class to be quiet and not talk about it, but she spoke to them as equals with a right to know what was going on. It took away the stigma of kids being made to feel like they shouldn’t be talking about anything awkward or difficult. I loved when Sienna encouraged the pupils to speak out if something like that happens to them and she promised to believe them – it was giving credit to the students and getting things out in the open.
Did you feel parallels with Ollie’s experience in the football abuse story and the ‘Breaking The Silence’ message?
It’s a clever continuation of that story, it doesn’t just stop. Those characters will carry that experience through with them, and having Ollie reference it and support Sienna for speaking out was lovely. I liked how you saw a range of different but mature perspectives from characters like Ollie, Imran and Juliet, it showed young characters taking it seriously and was a positive reflection of kids being allowed to ask questions and feel comfortable in a discussion.
Are you pleased Sienna and Nancy finally buried the hatchet?
Me and Jess Fox rang each other when we read that. After Sienna stole Nancy’s life we knew there was no way back for them to be friends, but the characters work together so well and we’ve been looking for ways for them to interact again. Nancy wanting to move past everything they’ve been through makes Sienna feel really grateful. Sienna has a new friendship network with Nancy, Sinead, Diane, and her sister Liberty now, they form a book club soon which is hilarious! It’s nice to show the women’s friendship as a positive thing to come out of a hellish year.
Wha was the most challenging part of the Laurie story?
Getting it right, as there is such a responsibility. It was hard to know how to pitch Sienna’s reactions, I didn’t want to under or over react as there were lots of little, subtle moments. I had to really put myself in Sienna’s position and imagine how I’d feel if it happened to me. Kyle is such a chilled-out, lovely human but he’s so good in the role he could be frightening. When Sienna held him hostage and he broke free I told the director I didn’t want Sienna to scream, she had to stay in control and be strong – and on the first take I just screamed as it was so scary!
What’s coming up for Sienna and Brody?
I love them, they’re so cute and have been a big hit which is amazing. We’ll continue to see Brody be the stand-up legend that he is for Sienna and they go from strength to strength. We do have a big storyline coming up which is very focused on their relationship. I can’t say much but it’s a biggie, I think the audience will enjoy it and it means we’ll be seeing a lot of them as a couple.
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