Hollyoaks spoilers follow.
Hollyoaks star Ki Griffin has revealed further details of what viewers have to look forward to in the ongoing Ripley Lennox and Brooke Hathaway storyline.
Ripley (Griffin) first arrived in the village last summer after being introduced as a friend of Tom Cunningham (Ellis Hollins), and has been running a clothes store at the Cunningham's Grand Bazaar.
Ripley has since formed friendships with Brooke Hathaway (Tylan Grant), Ollie Morgan (Gabriel Clark) and Imran Maalik (Ijaz Rana) and they recently explained to their friends that they identify as non-binary.
Brooke's friendship with Ripley has been going from strength to strength recently, which has led Imran to become jealous as he worries that he and Brooke are drifting apart.
In scenes to air next week, Brooke confides in Ripley that they don't feel like a girl. This conversation will cement the pair's friendship and actor Ki has told Inside Soap that they are loving playing out the blossoming partnership.
"Brooke and Ripley's relationship is something that I'm really enjoying playing on the show," they said. "It's so lovely to have a character like Ripley, who is quite firm in their own identity, reach out and just say, 'I'll be right here next to you as you try things.'
"So as Brooke explores their identity, Ripley will be that right-hand person who will be there every step of the way."
They added that Ripley and Brooke's bond will "bloom from this point onwards", saying that they "can't wait" for fans to see the story develop.
"It's really important that we see people supporting each other," Ki explained. "No matter what point you find yourself at in your journey, it's important to have people who are going to celebrate every stage of that with you. There's a Ripley out there for everyone – it's just a case of finding them!"
Ki, who also revealed that they have an input into the way that Ripley's scenes are written, also teased that Ripley will continue to be an important presence in the village as they have "been on set a lot recently!"
"Ripley is a full human who has beliefs, hopes, dreams, and quirks, and that's definitely going to come across more in the coming months," Ki said. "Ripley's quite a refreshing character, and I think people should be excited to see someone who's really quite different from anyone else in the village."
Ripley is the first regular non-binary character to feature in a UK soap and Ki explained that they hope Ripley will help viewers who may also identify as non-binary.
"To have a character like Ripley on TV when I was growing up would have been huge," they said. "I probably would have come to terms with my own gender identity a lot sooner.
"Honestly, I think what we're doing with Ripley is amazing, and it's really beautiful for me to think that young kids who are questioning whether they're non-binary are looking at Ripley and thinking, 'Maybe that's how I feel'."
Hollyoaks currently airs new episodes from Mondays to Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
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