Hollyoaks: Emmett J. Scanlan discusses Brendan Brady’s legacy ahead of next week’s National Television Awards (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)!

by Anna Howell

It came as no surprise that Hollyoaks superstar, Emmett J. Scanlan, had been nominated in the Serial Drama Performance category at this year’s National Television Awards.

But what was surprising, and devastating to many, was the news that Emmett had decided to leave Hollyoaks for pastures new, leaving Brendan Brady behind.

Brendan first appeared on our Hollyoaks screens back in 2010 when he arrived in the village just in time to break up a fight between Cheryl (Bronagh Waugh) and Mercedes (Jennifer Metcalfe), introducing himself as Cheryl’s half-brother.

Since then, drug-mule turned bar owner Brendan has embarked upon many a hard-hitting and controversial storyline including homosexual domestic violence, sexual abuse and murder, but despite his villainous and corrupt persona, Brendan remains one of the best loved soap characters of all time.

Despite his violent and edgy nature, the brilliant writers at Hollyoaks have managed to not just get people to love Brendan, but to do so despite his many flaws, never once taking anything away from the character, yet all the while somehow managing to make viewers understand him, when he doesn’t really seem to understand himself.

Emmett has managed to create a character so dark he can change the temperature and atmosphere of a room with one lift of an eyebrow, and that phenomenal standard of acting combined with such fantastic and gritty storylines has come together to construct one of the most epic and iconic soap characters of all time, earning him an abundance of awards including “Villain of the Year” and “Best Newcomer” at the 2011 Inside Soap Awards, and “Best Actor” and “Best Bad Boy” at the 2012 Inside Soap Awards.

So, what better way to recognise Emmett’s tireless and often breath-taking performance, week after week on the much loved channel 4 soap than to award him this prestigious acclaim in thanks and appreciation for bringing the double hard double B moustached monster that is Brendan Brady into our lives?

Unreality TV caught up with Emmett J. Scanlan, who plays Brendan, to find out how he feels about his time on the show ahead of next week’s ceremony.

It is hard to imagine a Hollyoaks without Brendan, even after only being a part of the drama for the last two and a half years.  But the exit of such a huge character often leaves a legacy just as big.  We asked Emmett what legacy he hoped Brendan would leave behind:

“That is a very difficult question to answer without sounding egotistical.

“I am proud of the character that we have all created here on the show, I am honoured with the effect he has had on the show, and with all the opportunities and amount of storylines I have gotten as a result.

“I don’t know how he is going to be remembered by everyone, but he will be remembered with such fondness by me after two and a half years of playing him.  I don’t know exactly what legacy Brendan will leave behind, but as far as I am concerned Hollyoaks itself is legendary, and the place to work.  I am surrounded by so many wonderful people who tolerated my strange behaviour and messing up take after take, and who really just embraced Brendan.

“Brendan would have been nothing without the public; they are the reason why characters get given another contract to stay on, because of their popularity.  The audience keep the show ratings up, without them they are nothing.

“The fact that Brendan struck such a cord with so many people and was allowed to shine in all his Hollyoaks glory was something I never expected.  You come to a show to dance, to play to create, to live inside your own imagination, but most importantly to just have fun, and that’s what I did, and anything else on top of that has just been an incredible bonus.”

With the many, many dramatic, controversial and, at times, down-right dangerous storylines that Brendan has been involved in, both in Hollyoaks and in Hollyoaks Later, we asked Emmett which particular moments will go down as favourites for him:

“That’s a very hard question because I have been spoilt, haven’t I?

“Coming into Hollyoaks for the very first time and Brendan Brady hooking up with Stephen Hay (Kieron Richardson) was special because it was so new to me and every experience was so ripe and full of colour it was ridiculous.

“Over the last two and a half years some of my proudest moments when I look back on it have been Hollyoaks Later’s, and also the reunion of Stendan, especially as we filmed that in Dublin.  I was so proud to take this wonderful show back to my home city, and have my daughter spend four days on set helping out, calling action and things like that.  These are great moments for me.

“Great moments for Brendan have been seeing his progression as a character from this twitchy, fruitcake drug mule with Carmel through to Danny Houston, then Warren Fox coming back from the dead.  I think back on some of this stuff and it is hard to separate it.  I am so pleased that we went so far with Brendan, and how we explained the man that he is.

“I am also really excited about the stuff I am doing with Seamus Brady (Brendan’s father played by Fintan McKeown), it just shows a new element of Brendan.  He has always been the king, he has always been feared and fearless but then his dad comes back and all of a sudden he is transported back to his childhood.  He almost is that 8 year old child again, still playing this alpha-male but from a child’s perspective.

“All of it has just been so entertaining; I am a lucky man because there are so many moments to choose from, so many moments.”

Emmett is no stranger to receiving awards, not just for playing Brendan Brady but from his rather successful and lucrative film career also, but this last National Television Award before he bows out of Hollyoaks for good would be the icing on what has already been a very tasty cake for him.  Of his nomination he commented:

“I’m utterly delighted to be nominated for an NTA.

“It’s a massive honour for any actor to be acknowledged for their work, and an even bigger honour waving the Hollyoaks flag.

“Get online, and pick up the phone to vote for your favourite. My advice, vote for the one that effected, infected you the most. Personally I’m gonna vote Michelle Keegan but for very different reasons.”

You heard him!  If you want show Emmett how much you have enjoyed watching him bringing Brendan Brady to life on our Hollyoaks screens, then click here and cast your votes for this year’s National Television Awards.

Hollyoaks can be seen week nights at 6.30pm on Channel 4/ Channel 4 HD.

The National Television Awards can be seen at 7.30pm on Wednesday 23rd January on ITV1/ITV1 HD, cast your votes here.