What was your understanding of County Lines before this storyline?
I literally go to sleep listening to the midnight news, it’s sad but it’s true, so I am aware. When we lived in London we lived near gang members, even in ‘nice areas’ you can’t get away from it. I’m so impressed that we’re doing this story and thrilled to be part of it because it’s vital, especially for us parents.
Hollyoaks showed an episode recently which flashed-forward to NYE 2020 and revealed an unnamed fatality, could the Nightingales be in danger?
No, I won’t let them! [laughs] Yes, they’re all very much in danger. I’d like to say ‘over Marnie’s dead body’ but I very much enjoy being in Hollyoaks.
As Juliet’s guardian, what do you think Marnie could do to protect her from the county lines gang?
Marnie has inherited a very troubled teen and Juliet is lashing out, but what Marnie doesn’t know is she’s lashing out because she loves Marnie more than anything, and wants to protect her. Whatever state their relationship is in, there is no way that Marnie will not march down to whatever depths to protect Juliet, so watch out.
As a parent in real-life to a teenage boy, how worrying is county lines to you?
County lines is terrifying. I have a very communicative relationship with my boy – we argue about everything but over the important stuff he will talk. He tells me about things that are worrying him or things that he’s seeing - the kids have got a lot on their plates. I think the only thing you can do with a teenager is make sure that the door is always open, because if you try to police them then you will lose them. They seem savvier than we are – Jimmi doesn’t think we can teach them anything they don’t already know, but then he’s glued to Hollyoaks because it’s really good.
What can you tell us about Marnie’s new friendship with Misbah?
I’m really looking forward to this. We’re not there yet - Misbah and Marnie are scrapping at the moment as usual, but hopefully something profound is going to happen and however bad-tempered and judgemental and impatient Marnie can be, when push comes to shove, and if someone is loyal and kind, she will give that back in spades.