Speaking to RadioTimes.com, Richardson revealed the former lovers will cross paths when Harry becomes unexpectedly involved with vulnerable Ste’s shocking plot, in which he is being groomed by a far right extremist group who are manipulating him into sharing their anti-Islamic ideology.
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Disenfranchised Ste has now been initiated into the far right group by sinister Jonny Baxter (Ray Quinn) and Stuart Sumner (Chris Simmons) after leading a violent march in the village that saw family and friends, including sister Leela Lomax (Kirsty-Leigh Porter) and Tony Hutchinson (Nick Pickard), wash their hands of him. This plays straight into the hands of the ‘brotherhood’ who are insidiously ensuring Ste becomes isolated from his support network.
Ste and Harry split up in October 2018 after Harry’s affair with James Nightingale (Gregory Finnegan) was exposed on their wedding day, but could Mr Thompson be his ex-husband’s last hope of escaping the extremists’ gruesome grip?
“Harry is going to come into play,” said Richardson. “Ste and Harry have not seen each other in a while and have a lot of catching up to do, and Harry has to work out whether he likes the new Ste.
“Jonny, Stuart and the far right group see Harry as a threat, a link to the ‘old Ste’ in the way Tony and Leela were, so they will want to put some distance between them. Then another new character is thrown in who I’ve been doing some scenes with recently.
“I don’t want to give too much away but he might have something to do with Harry and also the brotherhood, and them wanting to keep Ste and Harry apart…”
What will James think of Harry being involved with Ste again?
The once-mighty Starry has now been usurped by ‘Jarry’, so what will James make of his boyfriend becoming embroiled with his ex’s messy life once more, and possibly ending up as his saviour?
“Can Harry save Ste? Not if James has anything to do with it! Harry’s part in the storyline will open up other avenues which also involve James, as well as this new character. It adds new dimensions to the story…”
Recent episodes have seen the far right plot crank up to make even more uncomfortable viewing, as Ste falls further under the group’s spell, and Richardson acknowledged the character has crossed a line with the riot and the initiation. “The audience are finding it hard to watch and rightly so, it’s opening their eyes about something that is actually happening. If there wasn’t that kind of a reaction it would be pointless as we are trying to highlight a big issue.
“I understand why people are hating Ste, I’m used to it and it means we’re doing a good job of portraying it. He is still vulnerable though, but he’s too selfish to realise he’s hurting those that love him the most.
“Ironically it’s love he’s always been searching for but it’s been there the whole time, it’s sad to watch him reject Leela, Tony and his family and turn to Jonny and Stuart who have a hidden agenda and don’t really care.”
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