Now the flames from post-watershed special Hollyoaks Later have died down, and Tone is out of the pig farm prison and back with his family, fans can breathe a sigh of relief the soap’s only original character is home at last – and Nick Pickard’s thoughts are turning to October 2020 when the soap celebrates its quarter century milestone.
Show bosses have already teased big plans for the anniversary, including the return of some old faces, but which other original cast member would the Ken Barlow of the village like to have at his side to mark the occasion?
“I’d like to see Will Mellor come back,” the actor exclusively reveals to RadioTimes.com. “Obviously I started the show back in 1995 with him. His character Jambo was Tony’s best friend, may if he came in to comfort him in his time of need or something. It would be a flying visit.”
Mellor was back on the set of the show that launched his career last year as he joined old pal Pickard for an edition of BBC Two’s Celebrity Antiques Road Trip – did he pop in for a chat with the producers about a possible return?
“Obviously I’d really love it if Jezzy (Jeremy Edwards who played Kurt Benson) came back,” continues Pickard, “but he’s dead [and already been back as a ghost in the last Hollyoaks Later in 2013] so I don’t think there’s much chance of that! But you never in soaps what could happen – four months ago I never had a dad and a whole other family but now I have!”
The Hutchinson family tree is finally being explored with the recent introduction of Joe McGann as Tone’s estranged dad, suave surgeon Edward, who secretly plans to usurp his son’s place by seducing wife Diane and pushing him out of the picture.
“Tony’s relationship with his dad is frosty at the beginning,” explains the star. “He’s feeling vulnerable because of the trauma with Breda but eventually he accepts what he thinks is comfort from Edward, so he wonders whether he’s actually changed and lets him into his life. I think he’s going to come a cropper down the line because of that!”
Thankfully relations between fictional father and son off-screen are much more harmonious, as the pair have a link going back decades. “He won’t thank me for saying it but I’ve been a fan of Joe since my school days! I went to school with Kellie Bright from EastEnders [she plays landlady Linda Carter] who was in a show called The Upper Hand in the 1990s where Joe played her dad. So when I was barely in my teens he was on primetime TV acting with my mate!”
Visit our dedicated Hollyoaks page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers