Hollyoaks favourite Nancy Osborne has had her world turned upside-down following the revelation that her nephew Charlie Dean is involved in the dark world of drug dealing.
Charlie's role in the County Lines drug operation has been exposed in Hollyoaks' dramatic New Year episodes, which saw the year-long storyline come to a head.
Drug dealer Jordan Price has now been killed off after a frightening showdown with Charlie and Ella Richardson at The Hutch.
Digital Spy recently caught up with Jessica Fox, who plays Nancy, to hear what's next for the storyline.
How exciting was it to film the New Year episode after a 12-month build-up?
"I think it was a relief, to be honest! 2020 couldn't have been a more difficult year to have a flashforward episode, but we did it and we managed to connect all of the dots.
"After we filmed it, I was excited to see the episode go out and let the audience get answers to some of these questions."
At what point in the year did the bosses let you in on all the secrets?
"I genuinely didn't know who was in the body bag until the scripts came out. There had been lots of rumours. There have been a lot of people tweeting to say that it's me, and I'm happy to confirm that it's not! Although I'm glad that people think John Paul would be that upset about Nancy dying – that's good!
"Some of it was as much of a surprise to me as it will be to the audience. Obviously we didn't know what Charlie's involvement was going to be, but it turns out that he's right at the centre of it all."
Did you have a personal theory?
"I genuinely didn't know. I had a worry that it could be Charlie who died, but I thought the person in the body bag looked a bit tall. Although he's shot up in the last year, so it could have been him! I genuinely didn't know and I thought it was probably better if I tried not to guess, really."
How is Nancy going to cope with the revelations over Charlie's involvement in the drug dealing?
"Nancy has not had a very good year, to say the least. She has been a bit self-absorbed, and until this point, she thought that this drugs issue was only involving other people.
"As far as Nancy was concerned, it wasn't her family that could possibly be drug dealers, because those are 'other types of people'. She's quite snobbish in that sense and even when it was right there in her face, she was still trying to come up with excuses for Charlie.
"When it's all laid out bare and she can't deny it any more, it's just like the icing on the cake. It's the year that just wouldn't quit for Nancy. It's been one rubbish thing after another. It's going to push her to the edge of what she can really cope with."
Will Nancy blame herself for missing the signs?
"Absolutely. Any parent who found out their child had been groomed into dealing drugs would fear that it's their fault – unfairly in some cases.
"With Nancy, she will absolutely feel that way. She'll feel that she dropped the ball and her precious little Charlie Bear is a hardened criminal – and how the hell did that happen when she's still making him beans on toast? She's going to find that difficult to deal with."
Does Nancy look at Charlie differently now, or does she understand that he's still quite vulnerable?
"He's absolutely still her baby. Nancy wants to fix it and she wants everything to be okay. She's just not sure how she's going to do that. She's very protective and on his side, though."
How supportive is Darren towards Nancy and Charlie?
"Darren definitely tries his best, but he is not quite as resolute as Nancy is that it's not Charlie's fault. He very much wants Charlie to take responsibility for his actions, whereas Nancy just wants him home watching Disney movies please."
Could this situation bring Nancy and Darren closer again?
"Oh, you never know! (Laughs.) I think the audience might be pushing those two characters in a direction that we've seen them in before, but we might not. We'll have to wait and see.
"I think they're always going to have that connection. Nancy and Darren have always got that chemistry when they're together. It's there and you can't get away from it, really."
There was lots of talk last year about how you'd make the flashforward continuity work. How was it in the end?
"Well, we had the added challenge of COVID, so that means that our very talented make-up artists unfortunately can't touch us at the moment. They can give us guidance but they can't do it themselves.
"Nancy had a really complicated hairstyle that was established in the flashforward episodes. But the make-up artists are amazing and came up with a fake bun that I could put on the back – and they talked me through a bit on the front that I could just about manage! It was difficult, but we got there in the end. I hope so anyway!"
After so long at Hollyoaks, how is it filming the show with so many new rules in place at the moment?
"It's weird! We keep saying to new actors: 'It's not always like this!' One of the best parts of being on this show is all of the people and how they hang out and interact together. We're having to be quite separate at the moment, as understandably we're all in our little zones.
"That community aspect has been put on hold and that's what I really miss. I hope that as soon as we're able, we can all be putting the world to rights in the green room again.
"We'll have to wait and see, but it's just good that we're still getting to shoot, we're getting the job done and turning out some really cool stuff."
"I think it's going to be so weird, because Bryan has been in charge for such a long time. I consider him a friend and respect him terribly, so I'm really sad that he's going.
"But at the same time, Lucy is wonderful. I always remember her as being really approachable and cool, so I'm excited to see what she's going to bring to the show and see where we go next."
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
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