What was your understanding of County Lines before this storyline?
I’m a bit of a news hound, so I have been aware of the issue for a while. Young criminal gangs are a real problem in big cities and the advent of sending kids out to deal in smaller towns and rural communities is a real issue across the country. It’s a hard story to tell and fantastic that Hollyoaks is taking on this topic.
What was your reaction when you heard about the plans for Hollyoaks to cover this topic?
It’s a big issue facing the youth of today, particularly some of the most disenfranchised, and Hollyoaks is always at the forefront of those types of stories. I’m proud of the show for taking the time to understand it and put it front and centre. We have some super talented young actors in the show and I knew they would do a brilliant job bringing the story to life, and they are.
Hollyoaks showed an episode recently which flashed-forward to NYE 2020 and revealed an unnamed fatality, could the Nightingales be in danger?
Of course. Everyone in the village will be touched by this story - no one is safe this year. I’ve heard a fair amount of debate on who is in the body bag but its top secret and hopefully we’ll be able to keep it that way till New Year’s Eve...
James is a lawyer, will he be conflicted between upholding justice and protecting his sister, Juliet who will become a drug runner?
Possibly. Ultimately his moral compass is quite strong, despite previous indiscretions. He was willing to hand himself in for Mercedes’ shooting recently, so I suspect he’d probably try and do the right, legal thing.
As a parent in real-life, how worrying is county lines to you?
As a parent or not it’s an issue we all have to be aware of as a community to try and eradicate. County lines gangs take advantage of kids, often the most vulnerable, with promises of wealth and escape, so if, as a society, we can try to make sure those kids never fall through the cracks and get the support they need, then hopefully we can stop these gangs from being an issue in so many people’s lives.