Hollyoaks spoilers follow.
Hollyoaks star Callum Kerr has confirmed PC George Kiss' departure from the show, in an exclusive exit interview with Digital Spy.
George's disturbing storyline finally came to an end in Thursday's E4 first look episode (April 22), as he was murdered by a mystery culprit outside The Dog In The Pond.
Over the past few months, George has been terrorising his partner John Paul McQueen (James Sutton) with violent and controlling behaviour.
The show's latest episode saw John Paul break his silence by bravely telling his family what had been going on. George realised it was time to move on and planned to leave the village in a taxi, but someone caught up with him before he could depart.
Digital Spy can confirm that these were George's exit scenes, which Callum filmed earlier this year. While George boldly faked his death earlier this week, this time it's the real deal.
Speaking exclusively to us about leaving Hollyoaks, Callum explained: "I'm really just grateful to have been involved for some length of time. It could have been longer but it also could have been shorter, and I think it was a good amount of time to give the storyline justice.
"I think some of the fans who watch the show are ready for the storyline to finish because they're calling for an end to it! So I think it was pretty perfectly timed on Hollyoaks' part and I'm just really grateful to have been part of the show.
"I made some amazing friends, so I'm gutted that I won't be working with those really cool people every day. But we're all going to keep in touch and that's life, onto the next one – that's what we sign up for when we do anything creative. I can't be unhappy that it's over, just glad that it happened."
On the producers' choice to kill off George rather than leave the door open, Callum continued: "We spoke about the storyline and what would be a justifiable end to everything that was going on. He could have gotten away and potentially come back later on, to cause more havoc, but some of the abuse that he was dishing out really was quite disgusting.
"I think the writers just thought that it was probably best to put an end to the story once and for all – not just for their own story, but so that James' character John Paul can move on once again from more trauma.
"It was the writers that came up with it. I knew my storyline was coming to an end, but I didn't know if he was going to flee the country, go to jail or die. It was their decision, but one that we talked through together and we agreed that it was the best course of action to give the story a proper ending."
Callum made his first appearance as George in January 2020, when the policeman was introduced as part of the County Lines drug dealing storyline.
George also quickly became a love interest for John Paul, although some of the relationship's development had to take place off-screen when COVID-19 led to a four-month shutdown of production last year.
Asked how the pandemic affected the story, Callum recalled: "It forced us to cut to the chase a little bit. We had four months off so when we went back to filming in August, we'd skipped four months of summer.
"I think that we skipped over a lot of George and John Paul's relationship blossoming and the good parts of their relationship
"I guess the audience had to use their imaginations to work out why John Paul wouldn't just leave George. I guess it was a shame that we had to gloss over that, but the writers did a good job in sprinkling in the fun parts of the relationship.
"Not to mention we had to be two metres apart at all times, so we built a whole on-screen relationship without ever holding hands or being close to each other!
"The fact that people still see them as being in a relationship does the writers and filmmakers justice, because it was tough to try to form a bond with someone that you can't even stand close to.
"The coronavirus pandemic definitely had an effect, but it was just an extra challenge that we had to get over. I'm happy with how it came out."
George's murder will now spark a huge whodunit storyline for Hollyoaks, with John Paul and a number of his loved ones in the frame.
The official suspect list includes John Paul, Mercedes, Theresa, Cher, Sally, Nancy, James, Ste and Dean.
On whether he knows the outcome, Callum teased: "I know everything that goes down! But I don't think they're going to reveal that on-screen for a while. I'd love to tell you, but I think that would just ruin the magic and the mystery of who kills George Kiss! You're going to have to keep watching!"
Callum also spoke about his future career plans, having previously been unable to announce his departure from Hollyoaks due to the secrecy surrounding George's exit.
He said: "I couldn't really say anything, because then people would know that I'm leaving the show. But I'm going to continue to act. I've always done music as well, so I'll continue acting, doing music, and trying to stay creative.
"I can't say much yet, but I'll be popping up here and there. Anything that I'll be involved in, I'll post about on social media, so that's where you can keep up with everything."
Our full exclusive video interview with Callum can be viewed at the top of the page.
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
Organisations including The Mankind Initiative (www.mankind.org.uk) provide support and advice to male victims and survivors of domestic abuse, domestic violence and coercive control. Its confidential helpline, open weekdays between 10am and 4pm, is 01823 334244.
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