Hollyoaks has certainly had its share of villains in the past, but there is something quite cold and calculating about its newest member to the elite evil club.
Doctor Browning (Joseph Thompson) first appeared on our screens as a client of Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) whilst she was hiring out her personal services, shall we say, and since then has managed to work his way into her heart and family.
A deep set obsession with the fieriest McQueen in the family became evident when Dr Browning took the drastic measure of killing Lynsey Nolan in order to silence her knowledge that Mercedes had stabbed herself and framed Mitzeee Minniver (Rachel Shenton) for the crime.
Now he has been acquitted of the murder, Dr Browning is back in the village, and Mercedes bed!
Viewers have watched in disbelief as, in order to get her estranged family to welcome Mercedes back into the fold, Dr Browning has told McQueen Matriarch, Myra McQueen (Nicole Barber-Lane) that she is dying.
Last night, however, he was forced to reveal that the diagnosis had been wrong in order to put a stop to people donating money at a benefit night held in Myra’s honour, but when the dodgy McQueen lawyer got a sniff of it he advised Myra to sue for compensation.
The storyline is set to take a dramatic twist when, after Dr Browning’s plot is uncovered at work, his boss offers to turn a blind eye for a night with Dr Browning’s fiancée, Mercedes.
Speaking to Digital Spy about the storyline, Joseph Thompson explained:
“This is a real crunch point for Browning. He’ll do anything to get what he wants and it normally works. He’s a high-flyer career-wise and I’m sure he’s screwed a few people over on the way. But now suddenly he has Mercedes, who he’s completely obsessed with. It’s either Mercedes or his career, which he’s worked hard for.
“It’s a real sleaze-off between Browning and Davies! If you thought Browning was sleazy, wait until you see this guy. Davies thinks he’s a master, so Browning is getting a taste of his own medicine and it’s really interesting to see how that plays out.
“Mercedes offers to go along with Davies’s offer, and I think this is why the relationship between her and Browning is so fun – neither of them can get a grip on what the other one is going to do. He can’t control her and she does her own thing.
“It gets pretty desperate for Browning as Mercedes finds herself in danger, and it’s interesting to see him out of his comfort zone. He’s a real control freak, but what you’re about to see is him losing that power.”
Thompson went on to explain his characters motives behind lying about Myra’s health:
“I just don’t think he’s wired the same way as other people! There were definitely moments when he realised what he’d unleashed and how upset Myra was. Overall, though, he’d say that he did that for the right reasons. He did it for Mercedes and to re-establish her relationship with Myra, so she gets her mum back.
“That plan has worked, so it’s all justified in Browning’s eyes. There might be a little bit of guilt, but he only did it for Mercedes and what’s best for her.”
With regards to Dr Browning’s feelings for Mercedes, Thompson continued:
“I think he’s genuine with that. Because he’s so manipulative, it’s sometimes hard to tell whether he means what he says. But with Mercedes, he’s completely in love with her and fascinated by her.
“In short, Browning has met his match and that’s a really thrilling battle to have. He thinks he’s found someone who can make life exciting, when usually he’s used to wrapping people around his little finger.”
On his time at Hollyoaks so far, Thompson noted some highlights:
“I feel really lucky as I think Browning is such a brilliantly written and devised character. He’s so fun to play. I loved working with Rob Norbury (Riley Costello) and Karen Hassan (Lynsey Nolan), and of course, it’s so great working with Jen Metcalfe (Mercedes McQueen) too.
“I really enjoyed those scenes just before Browning was arrested, where he was trying to persuade Mercedes to run away with him. They were so fun to play. Since I’ve been back, the new material has been brilliant and it’s a real treat to play such a complex character. I hope that people enjoy watching him and find Browning hard to work out.”
“When I came in, it was just for seven or eight episodes and it was really good fun. Even when I got the pages to read at the audition, I could see that Browning was a fun character and something seemed to click straight away. I got on well with Karen and Jen from the start and had a really great time.
“I was really pleased to come back for three more months in the summer, and every time the opportunity came to go back, I jumped at it. I’m really happy to be involved, especially as there are big changes happening at Hollyoaks and a lot of exciting storylines about to drop.”
However, Thompson is still quite fearful of his character:
“He’s capable of anything! It’s an exciting and dangerous situation that he’s already got away with murder. He’s already got serious issues with the way that he’s so egotistical and arrogant – he thinks he can get away with anything. You’ll have to wait and see, as anything can happen!”
Thompson has, rightly so, been nominated at this year’s National Television Awards in the ‘Most Popular Newcomer’ category, of which he said:
“It’s massive and I just feel really overwhelmed, to be honest. The support is great and it means so much to know that I’m on the shortlist because people have voted. I’m so grateful to the fans who have taken the time to vote, and I’m just excited and very flattered to be there.
“It’s also really nice for the show to be up for an award, too. Hollyoaks is a really great place to work and an exciting place to be, so it’s important that it’s represented there in the ‘Best Soap’ category. Emmett Scanlan is also in the running for ‘Serial Drama Performance’ and I think he’s so brilliant in the show. I hope to God that he gets the send-off that he deserves and gets that award.
“I’m also just really excited to be going to the ceremony, as well, as it should be a good night!”
“I genuinely have no idea what to expect! I don’t know how the numbers and votes will add up, as there are three other really strong nominees there. I’m flattered to be in such good company. I was delighted to be shortlisted and I’m happy with that. I haven’t really thought about winning, as I’m just happy to be going!”
Watch Joseph in action when he kidnapped Mercedes before being arrested for Lynsey’s murder in the clip below:
Hollyoaks can be seen week nights at 6.30pm on Channel 4/ Channel 4 HD