Hollyoaks: Emmett J. Scanlan helped decide on Brendan Brady’s exit (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

by Anna Howell

Earlier this year saw the announcement of the shocking news that Emmett J. Scanlan was leaving his role as Brendan Brady in Hollyoaks, sending soap fans all over the world into mourning.

Since joining the cast of Hollyoaks back in 2010, Emmett has taken fans along an epic journey as Brendan Brady has developed from a hard-faced criminal into a vulnerable abuse victim, with many a twist and turn along the way.

Brendan, who will go down in history as one of Britain’s best loved soap characters of all time, has remained one of the darkest, most complicated Hollyoaks residents throughout his time on the show, and is never far away from any of the shows drama.

During his 2 and a half years on our screens he has been involved in at least three murders (that we know of), including that of his own grandmother.  He has also been at the centre of a disturbing homosexual domestic violence storyline with love of his life, Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) whilst trying to come to terms with his own sexuality.

However, despite these many, many wrong-doings, it is only ever with fondness that people refer to Brendan, and utter respect with which they refer to Emmett J. Scanlan, the actor who plays him.

But, a year later than originally planned, Emmett has now decided to bow out of the award-winning Channel 4 soap.  So, with the end is in sight for Brendan Brady, Unreality TV caught up with Emmett J. Scanlan to find out what we can expect from his characters epic exit.

We spoke to Emmett last summer where he had heavily hinted that there most definitely a curtain closure for his character, and when news broke in January that it was official, we wanted to know why it was now felt it was the right time for the double hard double B moustached monster that is Brendan Brady to leave:

“The decision was made about a year ago that it was time for Brendan Brady to come full circle.  We have had so many great storylines it seemed like the evolutionary step and I agreed that I wanted to find some closure for my character after inhabiting him for so long and loving every minute of it, I wanted to try something different now because god knows I’m not getting any younger.

“Originally when the decision was made for Brendan to go it was going to be another six months initially, but then we felt to do the story justice I would stay on for another six or seven months on top of that, so it has been a gradual progression”


Brendan’s relationship with Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) has struck a chord with a huge fan base, despite the couple being involved in a disturbing and violent abuse storyline, and they have been affectionately known collectively as Stendan ever since they first got together.  Fans of the show will have watched through teary eyes when, finally, the couple were reunited with Brendan accepting who he was, and who he loved.  But, alas, their happiness is to be short lived; we wanted to know how Emmett felt about that:

“Would I have liked for the whole Steven and Brendan thing to evolve a bit more before the end?  I know the audience would have loved that, especially the die-hard Stendan fans, but I think that the way that Brendan and Steven got together was dealt with and approached so delicately, especially right at the beginning.  It needed a lot of patience and we were able to do that as it was handled extremely well for such a strong topic, domestic violence and abuse.  Then there was the always watching each other from a distance, unrequited love, and I think the timing and synchronicity was perfect.  Then to get together in Dublin, these were scenes I was particularly proud of, and I hope that the playback was really good for the audience.

“But when things are so great and you are feeling so fortuitous, having found everything you want in a partner, and spending time with them and enjoying being in love, for Brendan that has to be taken away, that’s the story of his life, always so close to happiness, but never being able to keep hold of it.

“Because the story is always so high-stake at 90 miles an hour with no rest, when even doing those beautiful domestic bliss scenes, there is always something going on in the background offering the possibility of disaster as well as hope, if that were to keep going then I think there is a chance it could become complacent and would then lose that special spark that magic quality, a little bit like what happened to John Paul (McQueen, played by James Sutton)and Craig (Dean played by Guy Burnet).

“I think it is very clever, after two and a half years there has been no respite, it was always will they or wont they.  And now they have…. But not for long!”

Hollyoaks fans all over the country are expecting a huge deal for Brendan’s final scenes, but we wanted to know if Brendan was getting the exit that Emmett would want for him:

“Yes he is, mostly.  The beautiful thing about working at Hollyoaks is the writer’s doors are always open.  You can walk in to the producers and writers conference at any time and talk to them about your feelings and what you strive for and want for your character, what you are unhappy with and take control of your character to a certain extent because we are all in this game together

“I probably annoyed a lot of people up there, always going to the office and pitching different ideas, but god bless them they just sat there and listened and for the most part they have gone with it.  I think that both Bryan Kirkwood and Emma Smithwick, before she left, handled the story so delicately and with such love and since Bryan has come in he has also been just such a force on Brendan’s side, working the storyline so that it can be the best it can be, no man wants this show to be better than Bryan, he is just so full of good intentions.

“So when it came to the exit storyline everyone was singing off the same hymn sheet.  My ideas were very grandiose, I wanted it to be mental and crazy, everything that Brendan Brady is and I didn’t want to cheat the audience.  After two and a half years of your life you don’t want to go out with a whimper, or leave in the back of a taxi or a bus and disappear into the background.  I had ideas about the exit storyline, and they have taken them and made them so much better.”

Fans of Hollyoaks are currently watching a very vulnerable Brendan Brady on our screens after the arrival of his father, Seamus Brady (Fintan McKeown), who viewers, but no one else, knows sexually abused Brendan as a child.  We wanted to know if Emmett wanted justice for his character before leaving:

“Regardless of all the bad things that Brendan has done, and the people he has murdered, when you inhabit your character you have to come from a non-judgemental point of view.  If you judge your character then you can’t play any truth in it, if you don’t like your character then what’s the point in playing the game?  So of course I want justice for Brendan Brady at any cost, that’s not to say there will be, but I definitely want him to find some closure and some peace, but I don’t know if Brendan is that kind of guy, he is just not that lucky.  But we will find out soon enough…”

So, what can we expect from Brendan’s final scenes?

“The storyline itself, I am hoping, is going to be amazing.  We have such a great cast, these fantastic actors who I have been dancing with for the last two and a half years, and a great director.  I don’t think it is going to disappoint.  There are a lot of twists and turns, a few things you won’t be expecting.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, and the s*** is really going to hit the proverbial – Brendan is going to go out in a blaze of glory.

Life after Hollyoaks for Emmett was never going to be quiet but, after the success of his latest film, Charlie Casanova, in which he played the title role earning him the very prestigious 2011 European Independent Film Festival award for Best Actor, we wanted to know if Emmett would be Hollywood bound after his time at Hollyoaks:

“The place is irrelevant, the effect is paramount really.  I mean England and Great Britain has been my Hollywood I guess for the last two and a half years and I couldn’t have asked for more.  I was over in Hollywood before I started at Hollyoaks and I will be going straight back over after my last day of filming but mostly to rekindle old friendships that I have neglected the last couple of years, to chill out and not have to wake up at 6.30 for a few weeks.”

One final question we asked was on behalf of one of our readers, Jo Taylor, via social networking site Twitter, who wanted to know if Emmett would be shaving off his famous Double B moustache once he has finished playing Brendan:

“The tash is Brendan Brady.  So when I do another character, I will have a different look.”

Brendan Brady’s exit is due to begin playing out tonight on Channel 4 for the next two weeks, to find out what is in store click here.

In the meantime cast your eyes on some of the photo’s from Brendan’s epic ending below:

bbexit4 bbexit5 bbexit7

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