With one of the year’s most hard-hitting and dramatic storylines about to play out on our Hollyoaks screens this week, Unreality TV has been finding out the research that went into the filming from one of the plot’s main players.
As we have previously reported, John Paul McQueen (James Sutton) is about to see the months of homophobic bullying he has been put through by two of his students, turn to one of the most unthinkable and criminal ordeals any person can suffer, when teenage Finn O’Connor (Keith Rice) rapes him in in Thursday night’s Channel 4 episode.
The subject of male rape is almost unheard of in today’s society, with many victims feeling so emasculated that they choose never to speak out about their ordeal, which is why it so admirable that Hollyoaks is bringing this, somewhat taboo, subject to light to help raise awareness.
But with such a sensitive subject there must be accompanied a mountain of research, to ensure the portrayal is as accurate and delicate as possible, as James Sutton, who plays victim John Paul McQueen has been explaining to Unreality TV exclusively:
“The filming of the actual event itself was relatively straightforward; Keith who plays Finn is a lovely fella, a really good guy so that was all fine.”
“The research was incredibly important – It really opened my eyes to male rape and sexual abuse. I had to put a lot of thought into that, we live in a safe little bubble but unfortunately people do have to deal with this sort of thing all the time.
“So the sort of research I did was looking at case studies and testimonies from people who had been raped and sexually abused. I spoke to Survivors in Manchester which is a male rape and sexual assault support centre and had meetings with them – Some of the things I have heard and read are just horrible, so sad and violent and brutal.
“These poor men that have had their masculinity completely stripped away and have been reduced to just shells, it’s just really horrible but that is kind of the world we live in really, and it is my job as an actor to find these things out and portray them, so that is what we have done, I hope.”
Of course, as in the case of most soaps, in order to do a storyline like this the justice it deserves, the crimes committed by characters cannot go unpunished, and this one is no different, but we may have to wait a while for the conclusion, as Sutton explained:
“Well, it has got to happen at some point, like you say we have to show that every action has a consequence so at some point down the line, yeah, Finn will get his comeuppance – But when that will be, and what that will be I don’t know.”
Watch all the drama unfold in Hollyoaks Thursday and Friday (January 9th & 10th), at 6.30pm on Channel 4 / Channel 4 HD.