Brooke Hathaway’s birth storyline became even more emotional with a touching Hollyoaks twist in E4’s first look (20th February) as the adoptive parents that Brooke gave baby Hathaway up to were played by actress Talia Vanessa Grant’s actual parents, celebrity vocal coaches David and Carrie Grant.
Eighties pop star David and Pop Idol vocal teacher and The One Show’s reporter Carrie played Mal and Zoe. Talia has played Brooke since July 2018 so it was her mum and dad who for once were out of their comfort zone.
“It was so much fun and a bit scary at the same time,” says Carrie. “I am mainly a presenter, singer and vocal coach, so it was in uncharted territory for me, but everyone was so lovely to be around and very encouraging.”
“It felt like role reversal,” says David, whose Brit-funk band Linx had hits with Intuition and You’re Lying in the Eighties. “Talia is now so experienced and we were in her environment. We felt like the kids!”
It was a tearful conclusion to Brooke and Ollie’s story which had pushed their relationship to breaking point as Ollie tried to persuade Brooke that they should bring their child up together.
“Once she had given the baby away, I think Brooke felt like it was the end of a chapter for her,” Talia Grant tells. “She was very decided about adoption. It was a really weird feeling filming with my mum and dad. It was like a crack in the simulation!”
Ollie (Aedan Duckworth) created a memory book for their baby boy but he was too upset to reveal either to Brooke or Mal and Zoe that his son had a 50 percent chance of inheriting the genetic condition Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) from his dad, Luke (Gary Lucy).
As Mal and Zoe left the hospital with the baby to the sound of Billie Eilish’s I Love You, Oliver was comforted by his dad and by Brooke who assured him they will be ok.
Hollyoaks fans know from the 2020 flash forward New Year’s Eve episode that there are tough times ahead for Oliver who finds solace in drugs.
“I really don’t know what the future holds for Brooke and Ollie, and whether they can move past this,” says Talia. “They certainly love each other however they aren’t really feeling the same things.”
“I think it is really important that Hollyoaks is tackling the topic of adoption,” says Talia, “as we need far more people to come forward to adopt children, especially black and mixed-race children.”
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David and Carrie Grant have three daughters Talia, Olivia (who has also appeared onscreen in TV dramas Save Me & Dark Money) and Imogen and one son, Nathan, who they adopted as a two-year old.
“As ambassadors of Adoption UK we are currently supporting a number of UK campaigns encouraging more people to adopt,” says Carrie. “So it’s great that Hollyoaks is covering this story. It’s a fact that BAME children are very hard to place so it’s even more encouraging that the baby we are adopting in Hollyoaks is mixed-race.”
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