Hollyoaks spoilers follow.
Hollyoaks is marking its milestone 25th anniversary with a sinister storyline for the McQueens, which has seen the family targeted by a macabre doll.
The doll has accused the McQueens of committing the seven deadly sins and is vowing to reveal all unless they pay up. In a recent chat with Digital Spy, Jorgie Porter strongly suggested a past character would be unveiled as the mystery culprit who has serious dirt on the McQueens and knows all of their biggest secrets (which, given their history, doesn't really narrow it down at all).
We've certainly had our hands full with this one, but here are our top guesses anyway:
1. Breda McQueen
Top of our list is bad, bonkers Breda, who has been presumed dead since her son Sylver killed her in self-defence back in January.
Although Breda appeared to be brown bread when the house she was left lying bloodied and lifeless in exploded, this is Hollyoaks we are talking about – where seemingly anything is possible, even rising from the dead. We're looking at you, Kurt.
If we break it down, the macabre doll blackmail business really does appear to have Breda's name written all over it – especially given that the first sin of wrath culminates in Sylver being arrested for her murder. Could we be preparing for round two of Breda's evil reign?
Speaking at the time of her exit, Moya Brady – who played the serial killer – hinted that Breda's work may not be entirely done, saying: "She should live! She should go on to the other soaps and take some of those characters out! (Laughs.) But this is Hollyoaks and you never know what might happen. I'm sure she'll haunt the village at some point."
2. Niall Rafferty
Like Breda, Niall is another McQueen wrong'un assumed dead thanks to a grisly twist in Hollyoaks Later, and if we're honest, we can see him pulling a stunt like this as well.
As the estranged son of Myra, and the brother of Mercedes and John Paul, Niall always had a bee in his bonnet about being put up for adoption as a baby.
During his troublesome stint in the village, Niall was responsible for the accidental death of Max Cunningham, the murder of Kieron Hobbs and even his own sister Tina – after he detonated a bomb inside the church where he was holding the McQueen family hostage.
Niall eventually met his own fatal end when he fell backwards off a cliff in a late night edition of the soap, but did he?
Teasing a possible return for Niall back in 2009, Barry Sloane – who played him – said: "That door's always open for him... You never saw the body. It was quite a fall, though. Niall was made of galvanized metal, so he was fine, I'm sure."
3. Silas Blissett
Move over, Breda and Niall – quintessential serial killer Silas may still have the evil edge on them both. The self-proclaimed serial "slut slayer" was one of Hollyoaks' most genius creations, so bosses were never likely to lock him up and throw away the key for good.
The murderous villain was last seen throttling Gloved Hand Killer Lindsey Roscoe to death in 2016, but we've always had sneaky suspicion Hollyoaks is keeping Silas on standby for a last hurrah. And with Hollyoaks celebrating its milestone 25th anniversary, what better time than to bring him back with a bang?
4. Doctor Browning
We're clutching at straws here, we know, but what if Doctor Browning is the mystery culprit who is making the McQueens' life a misery?
If we cast our minds back to October 16, 2013, longer-term fans will remember that Mercedes killed Dr Browning amid a huge showdown that played out as part of the show's 18th anniversary celebrations. Do you see where we are going with this?
We know that Soapland loves an Easter Egg, so what if Doctor Browning is back to make Mercedes pay, a whole seven years after the crime? Next week's scenes will see Mercedes prepare to meet the blackmailer face to face, wearing her signature red dress, so make of that what you will...
5. Mitzeee Minniver
Rogue, yes, but we have a fair few reasons for suspecting Mitzeee is the face behind the macabre doll's threats. That's because, back in 2012, Mercedes was unveiled as the mystery culprit stalking Mitzeee, even spitefully sending her a creepy doll in the post. Could history be repeating itself for Mercedes as Mitzeee returns the favour?
Granted, it doesn't explain how she knows about all the other McQueen crimes, but that probably goes for everyone else on this list as well.
6. Sonny Valentine
There's certainly a theme going on here, as scheming Sonny is another one who is presumably dead and buried, having perished in the train crash back in 2014.
That said, Sonny wouldn't be the first (or the last) to reappear from beyond the grave, and he did always have a ruthless side.
Sonny shares a colourful and highly complex history with the McQueens, and most notably with Theresa, who has recently returned to the village. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. But if Sonny is responsible for the blackmail, why has he waited until now to suddenly demand money from the McQueen clan?
7. Cleo McQueen
We don't want to believe it either, but there is something peculiar about the timing of Cleo's return. It was announced earlier last month that Nadine Mulkerrin had reprised her role as Cleo, having spent the last year on maternity leave, with her return scenes likely to play out over the coming weeks.
With the McQueens preparing to face their stalker imminently, this would seemingly tie in with Cleo's comeback story. Cleo would also seemingly know all their darkest sins and secrets and would know how to hit them where it hurts. But as for why sweet and innocuous Cleo would suddenly take such a huge issue with her entire family is a mystery in itself.
Hollyoaks currently airs new episodes from Mondays to Thursdays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4. Classic episodes, titled Hollyoaks Favourites, air on Fridays at 7pm on E4.
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