Hollyoaks: James Sutton discusses John Paul McQueen return and promises “never before seen drama” (EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW)

by Anna Howell

Fans of Hollyoaks will be pleased to know that as of next week, the main male McQueen, John Paul, is returning to our Channel 4 screens!

John Paul McQueen was last seen on Hollyoaks back in 2008 when he left the village to peruse a happier life with his best friend, tuned lover, Craig Dean (Guy Burnett) in Dublin.

Since he has been away the McQueen family have endured more than their fair share of heartache, including the Silas Blissett murder spree, and more recently the self-inflicted stabbing of his sister, Mercedes and the death of his sister, Jacqui’s husband Rhys.

Now, with the family still deeply in turmoil, it is up to John Paul to make things a bit more normal for them as he returns to the village.  But, as with all McQueens, his homecoming brings its fair share of dramas with him.

Unreality TV caught up with James Sutton, who is returning to our Hollyoaks screens next week to reprise the role of John Paul McQueen, to find out what drama’s his character has in store for us.

The buzz around is of pure excitement for John Paul to be returning to Hollyoaks, especially with James Sutton coming back to play him again, we asked James how it felt to be back on set, and to be walking in his old McQueen shoes again:

“It is really, really lovely.  I have stayed in touch with a lot of people, cast and crew, a lot of who are still here, so it was really, really lovely. But I was very nervous coming back I had such a great time last time and I put a lot of pressure on myself because I didn’t want to let anyone down.  So I was really kind of feeling very nervous about it all but It has gone really, really well – I have watched my first bits back and I am really pleased and I think that people are going to really like what they see.”

When John Paul left our screens four years ago, it was to a beautiful sunset exit with Craig, but John Paul is returning next week alone, so we wanted to know what has happened between him and Craig:

“They are not in a good place.  When the show picks John Paul back up Craig is leaving on a bus in quite an emotional scene so all is definitely not well between John Paul and Craig I am afraid.”

So, does this mean that Craig might be following John Paul back to the village?

“I don’t know, you would have to ask Guy (Burnett who played Craig).  I would love for that to happen, and to work with Guy again, we had a lot of fun together last time, so never say never.”

John Paul left Hollyoaks on a journey of self-discovery, having come to terms with his own sexuality and hungry to find out who he really was, we asked James if John Paul has now found the answers he was looking for:

“Yeah, very much so.  He is a much more rounded character, he has less angst and after his self-discovery he now knows who he is and where he fits into the world so the story is less about the previous relationships he has been in, and more focussed on a much more meaty kind of drama.  It is really exciting to come back as the same character, but just a bit different.”

When John Paul was in Hollyoaks before and tackling his sexuality, the McQueens had a divide with regards to supporting him.  We wanted to know how John Paul has reacted coming back to the family in the state it is in now:

“He comes back to absolute chaos.  They have all had these huge things to deal with, Mercedes(Jennifer Metcalfe) has literally gone bonkers and Jacqui (Claire Cooper)has had a hard time coming to terms with Rhys’ death and it’s her first Christmas without him, so he has come back to tears, tantrum’s and all sorts.  But that is kind of what you expect in the McQueen house, so he is not surprised to see all that going on to be honest.  But it was so much fun, having all the girls back together to come back to, a lot like coming back to Christmas at home.”

Speaking of the Christmas Day episode…..

“The Christmas Day episode was a lot of fun to film, it was a long shoot, with a lot of actors involved, not just the usual suspects, but also Tony (Hutchins played by Nick Pickard) and Nana McQueen (Diane Langton), Sinead (Stephanie Davis) and Bart (Johnny Clark) all crammed into that little room, but it was a lot of fun, and I think the viewers are going to really like what they see.”

So, what does the future hold for John Paul now he is back?  He wouldn’t be a McQueen if he didn’t have a matching luggage set of drama following him home:

“There is some pretty huge drama that comes back with him straight away, which shapes his first month home.  After that I have sat down with the writers and Bryan Kirkwood, the producer, and we have come up with some really good plans, some really meaty drama, way down the line, but really shocking.  The kind of thing that has never been tackled in the soap before, which is the kind of thing that Brian is so good at, and has always prided himself on: telling real stories and producing stuff that people haven’t seen before on TV, it’s one of his biggest strengths.  So I, and the viewers, have a lot to look forward to, and I hope everyone enjoys watching it unfold as much as I am looking forward to delivering it.”

Hollyoaks Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood

The response to James’ reprisal as John Paul has been phenomenal, all the John Paul fans, and James Sutton fans have caused a frenzy on social networking sites since hearing the news that James is returning to Hollyoaks, which he is really touched by:

“I just hope people enjoy it, it is different to what I did last time.  I know that people were huge fans of John Paul and Craig, which I am incredibly proud of but I hope that they enjoy the stuff that we are going to put out now as much as that because it is some really really good drama, but it is different so I don’t want anyone to expect the same storylines as before, but I hope they still like it, which I am sure they will.”

John Paul returns to Hollyoaks tonight at 6.30pm on Channel 4/ Channel 4HD, watch him in previous action in the clip below: