The following article contains discussion of themes including suicide that some readers may find upsetting.
Hollyoaks spoilers below.
Hollyoaks has just revealed a tragic twist for James Nightingale on Friday's (August 5) E4 first-look episode.
He found his ex-boyfriend Ste Hay taking selfies on the street and dragged him away to talk to him away from prying eyes. He then begged Ste to help him.
And now, in Friday's episode, it has been revealed that James went into hiding because while he was working for Norma (aka The Undertaker), he felt responsible for the death of someone else.
"Norma wanted me to testify against a man who had gotten on the wrong side of her," he began to explain, "So I did."
In a flashback sequence, we see Norma coercing James into lying on her behalf, as the man in question begs him to not do it. "You can stop this from happening. I have a family – three kids. You can stop me from going to jail," he was told.
When James asked whether testifying against this man would clear his debt with Norma, she replied that he is now indispensable to her, and that now that she knows where he lives, she can easily find him.
The man kept trying to plead his case in the flashback, warning James that if he went to prison, he'd get killed.
"They did kill him," James said to Ste and Romeo as he breaks down. "I was the one responsible for his death."
He then explained that the man died by suicide, and his family was left with nothing, making James feel responsible for his death.
"I couldn't bear to see what Norma does to people. It was eating away at me constantly. So I went to live on the streets as punishment for my past sins,” he said to his shocked loved ones.
"I was responsible for a man's death. So what now? Do I come back and live here? Go back to working with an unspeakably wicked gangster? Or do I go back to live in the streets and continue to cleanse my soul?" he asked.
He then reminded Ste and Romeo that if he stuck around, he could be putting them both in danger. But Ste had a plan.
"You have to win back her trust. And when you do, we're gonna take her down piece by piece," Ste vowerd.
Hollyoaks now streams first on All 4, with new episodes dropping each weekday morning. The show airs Mondays to Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, and at 7pm on E4.
Selected omnibus episodes are available via Amazon Prime Video.
We would encourage anyone who identifies with the topics raised in this article to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to visit mentalhealth.gov or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
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