Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.
Hollyoaks rapist Laurie Shelby has been released without charge – but a new storyline twist will see Nancy Osborne take up the fight for justice.
The authorities have decided not to pursue a case against Laurie after his wife Sinead's mistake with her statement, but upcoming scenes see Nancy grow close to Laurie in the hope of tricking him into a confession.
Nancy has been one of Laurie's allies in recent weeks, refusing to believe Sienna Blake's sexual harassment allegations against him, but she's about to realise that she got it wrong.
Digital Spy is publishing some special interviews on the Laurie storyline this week. Today Jessica Fox, who plays Nancy, reveals where it's heading next.
What can you tell us about Nancy's plans for Laurie?
"In previous weeks, we've seen Nancy defending Laurie as she didn't think there was any proof against him. She also expressed some doubts about Sinead when the police came around to speak to her. I don't think she meant to throw Sinead under the bus – it just came out thoughtlessly.
"But now there have been so many allegations and Nancy starts picking up on a few different things. She starts to change her tune and she wants to make amends.
"Next week we see Nancy trying to get some information against Laurie that they can use against him – but she's putting herself in some precarious positions by doing so."
Laurie is a clever man, so is he completely fooled by Nancy or does he suspect something is amiss?
"At this point, Laurie is just so grateful that somebody seems to be on his side. He's a bit blindsided by it and perhaps sees Nancy as another woman he can work his charms on."
How have you felt about Nancy's role in this storyline?
"I think it's been really good to play someone who hasn't believed the truth. It is something that happens in real life and it's one of the reasons why people sometimes don't want to speak out – they're worried about not being believed. So it's important to show that side of it.
"But it's also nice now that Nancy comes round and gets her redemption. Hopefully it also will be a path to more scenes between Nancy and Sienna in the future."
Did you also think that Nancy not believing Sienna was realistic, given their history?
"I do think it was realistic. The reason that Laurie has managed to do this and get away with it in the past is that he is so convincing and charming. Plus, Sienna is somebody who doesn't have the best track record. She's somebody who people wouldn't necessarily believe, because she's done so many terrible things.
"Nancy's reaction was unsurprising, because she's watched Sienna manipulate situations for her own gain in the past. This time she was telling the truth, but for Nancy it was a case of 'the boy who cried wolf'."
Nancy's plan receives some opposition, doesn't it?
"Absolutely – Jack is flabbergasted by Nancy's behaviour. He's really very cross and angry with her.
"Kyle is completely confused by the situation as well. She does tell Kyle what she's up to, but he asks her why she'd want to put herself in a situation where something bad could happen."
Would you like Nancy and Sienna to be friends in the future?
"There's definitely a lot of history between them and I really like that they have a love/hate relationship. I don't think that will ever change. I think they could be friends, but it'd be one of those situations where Sienna reaches for the last chip and Nancy would say: 'You stole my husband!'
"That would never end, but maybe any tension would be more in jest rather than come from hatred."
How have you felt about Hollyoaks exploring this difficult storyline with Laurie?
"I think Hollyoaks has handled it really well and they've shown how different characters have given their opinions on the situation. Ideally something bad would happen, it would get reported and then the person responsible would be punished.
"But that's not always the world that we live in and I think it's important to remember that the characters in the village don't see everything that happens.
"Nancy hasn't seen Laurie behave badly or being abusive, she only sees his good side. It's good to show that and I think it makes the storyline more realistic."
Hollyoaks has announced the return of Finn O'Connor, who previously tried to rape Nancy. How is she going to cope with his return?
"I don't think Nancy is going to be pleased to see Finn back in the village. We haven't really explored any of that yet, so I'm not sure what's going to happen.
"I don't know whether Nancy is going to be involved in Finn's return, but I imagine she probably will be. I would hope so, as she'd be pretty upset about it and she'd also want to know why Diane is putting her through this, especially after what Sinead has just been through."
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
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