The stars who started out on Hollyoaks

From Roxanne McKee to Emma Rigby and Will Mellor to Warren Brown, the Chester-based teen soap has been the launchpad for the career of many well-known actors...

Beautiful brunette Roxanne McKee won the Hollyoaks On The Pull talent show before being cast as Louise Summers. She left in 2008 and appeared in horror film ‘F’ followed by BBC2’s The Persuasionists. Roxanne went on to host The Clothes Show Live, appear in 11 episodes of Game of Thrones as Doreah (pictured above), the BBC3 lesbian drama Lip Service, and featured in the film The Legend of Hercules. She’s currently in the Syfy television series Dominion playing Claire Riesen. Roxanne, you are another star of the Hollyoaks alumni.  


Presenter, actor and writer James Corden made an appearance on Hollyoaks as a college caretaker in 2000. It was only a small part, but since then he’s won Baftas and British Comedy Awards for his work on Gavin & Stacey, appeared in the West End and on Broadway in One Man Two Guvnors (which bagged him a Tony), featured on a Number 1 single, fronted Sky’s sports quiz A League of Their Own, hosted the Brits and made the critically acclaimed comedy The Wrong Mans… among many other projects. Perhaps it was his screen time in Chester that gave him the edge?

After five years on Hollyoaks playing anorexic Hannah Ashworth, Emma Rigby featured in Ridley Scott’s movie The Counselor, rubbing shoulders with co-stars Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz. She has gone on to make acclaimed performances in BBC1 drama Prisoners’ Wives, and as the Red Queen in US fantasy drama Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.  She’s also appeared in Pramface, The Job Lot, Fresh Meat, Ripper Street and, most recently, Plastic. Not a bad CV for a 24-year-old, eh?

Warren Brown might have been 27 when he appeared in Hollyoaks but his youthful good looks meant he could still pass as student Andy Holt. Since then the former professional Thai boxer has battled crime with Idris Elba in Luther playing DS Justin Ripley and played Jack Quinn in By Any Means. He’s also appeared in central roles in BBC dramas Inside Men, Homefront and Good Cop.

Gerard McCarthy spent four years in Hollyoaks as bisexual Kris Fisher. After leaving in 2010, he played Ashley Stokes in Titanic: Blood And Steel, appeared in the History drama The Vikings and recently starred as Kevin McSwain in BBC crime drama The Fall. In 2012, he made his Shakespeare debut at the Globe in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Will Mellor first appeared in Hollyoaks in the mid 1990s as happy-go-lucky Jack the lad Jambo Bolton. As well as reaching number five in the charts with his cover of Leo Sayer’s When I Need You, the now 38-year-old Mellor featured in long-running TV comedy Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and more recently the award-winning ITV crime drama Broadchurch. He’s also well known for his role in Casualty as Jack Vincent, and for playing Ollie Curry in BBC3 comedy White Van Man.

As Sasha Valentine, Nathalie Emmanuel spent four years on the edge, dabbling in heroin addiction, prostitution and binge drinking. Now she has graduated from Hollyoaks to Hollywood, starring in Game of Thrones as Missandei and has just finished filming Fast & Furious 7 alongside Vin Diesel and Jason Statham.

Barry Sloane played serial killer Niall Rafferty in Hollyoaks between 2007-8. Since then, the 33-year-old has featured in the hit TV series Revenge and is virtually unrecognisable as the seriously unshaven poacher leader in the movie Noah directed by Black Swan’s Darren Aronovsky.


Best known for appearing in Hollyoaks as Katy Fox in 2007, 26-year-old Hannah Tointon has gone on to appear in The Inbetweeners as Simon’s girlfriend Tara Brown and has been cast in the TV series Mr Selfridge alongside her sister Kara. She’s also appeared in Midsomer Murders, Death in Paradise and BBC2 period news drama The Hour.