Note: The following article contains discussion of sexual misconduct that some readers may find upsetting.
Hollyoaks star James Sutton is revealing more details about the return of his fan-favourite character John Paul McQueen.
Next week will see John Paul called back to the village as part of a newfound alliance between his parent Sally St. Claire (Annie Wallace) and Tony's father Edward Hutchinson (Joe McGann) to get rid of Finn O'Connor (Keith Rice).
John Paul will arrive thinking there has been some kind of emergency, only to be told by Sally that they need his help getting Finn out of the village once and for all.
While John Paul initially refuses to have any part of their scheme, he eventually agrees to meet with his rapist face-to-face after being encouraged by his former partner James Nightingale (Gregory Finnegan).
"John Paul returns to the village because Sally has been in touch and asked him to come back," James Sutton recently revealed. "She's told him there's been an emergency and he needs to come back, so he does, because he’s a good person like that.
"So, he comes back, thinking there's an emergency, and there is an emergency of sorts – Finn O'Connor has returned to the village and is upsetting a lot of people and making life very difficult for a lot of people because of what he’s done in the past."
The experience of having to confront his abuser again will understandably be a painful one for John Paul.
"It's very difficult for John Paul to face Finn," Sutton said. "Having left the country for a few years to try to get over what happened to him, he is still very afraid of what Finn might do and what it means to be face-to- face with him. It's very complicated for him and very difficult but he does go and see Finn."
Returning to the village will also dredge up old feelings for both John Paul and James Nightingale, who is still grieving the loss of his soul mate Harry Thompson.
"They have a complicated history too – John Paul seems to have a complicated history with everyone," the star joked. "Last time they were together they were an on/off couple and James confessed his love to John Paul, but John Paul was cheating on him with Ste, so jealous James pretended that Ste was in the boot of a car and rolled the car off a cliff!"
On reuniting with the other McQueens, Sutton teased: "John Paul is a family man and is very excited to reunite with his McQueen family, especially his sister Mercedes, who has always been his favourite, they are a lovely brother and sister combination.
"They're the closest in age and they've always got on really well. They're like each other's confidants to be fair."
Sutton closed by mentioning how exciting it has been to be back on the Hollyoaks after such a long time away from the drama.
"It feels lovely to be back, it's really nice and super friendly here," he noted. "I'm in love with the new cast, they're utterly gorgeous and wonderful and so talented, especially the youngsters.
"I watched Billy Price (Sid Sumner) filming a scene the other day and I was blown away, they’re super talented this lot, which is wonderful.
"And I get to work with Greg Finnegan again, which of course he's thrilled about because I'm his best friend in the whole world and he loves working with me but seriously, every day with Greg is a joy, we're great friends and it's brilliant to be working with him again."
Hollyoaks airs Mondays through Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look episodes airing on E4 at 7pm.
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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Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Hollyoaks spoilers, as John Paul returns and Mercedes may still be in danger.
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