A violent showdown lies ahead in Hollyoaks as Felix Westwood (Richard Blackwood) and Warren Fox (Jamie Lomas) come face to face with vile former childcare services worker Cormac – and James Gaddas, the former Bad Girls and Coronation Street star who plays the villain – has hinted that his alter ego could very well die.
And there are some violent scenes ahead – some of which proved a challenge to film in a socially distanced manner.
The acclaimed star told Metro.co.uk: ‘For a start, it is the first socially distanced fight I’ve ever taken part in. Everything on that set is so careful – the way they shoot is run has one way systems and it works to keep us all in health but it’s a challenge for directors.
‘It was fascinating how they pull it off – Richard and Jamie took a large role in explaining to me, as I say, it was great to have their input as they’re more used to it. It was great to film as an actor, really collaborative. Jamie Lomas is a scary, scary man and yet a teddy bear when the camera stops rolling. He’s so good at what he does.
‘There is a huge showdown and the consequences could be huge. He’s not in a good way – I actually can’t say what goes on past this but we can see that the stakes are high and what happens beyond that, there will be dramatic aftermaths and a lot to deal with. As for Cormac’s fate, that’s in the hands of the writers who will decide what is right for this particular story…
‘I always find that until you actually do a recurring drama, it’s easy to think that it’s just easy with a quick turnover. But you really end up appreciating the skill of the people you work with – I am so pleased to be here for the 25th anniversary. I always remember Hollyoaks years ago being a young driven show but it has matured into something that has something that has something for everyone just like Emmerdale and Coronation Street have.’
Having played Neil Grayling in Bad Girls and Vinny Sorrell in Corrie – along with a variety of other roles including Emmerdale and Doctors – James is no stranger to taking on challenging roles and he admits that Cormac was the latest to draw him in due to the complexity of his nature.
He mused: ‘I think it was the hidden element really. He had secrets – on the surface, he is charming and working in an industry that should be a positive, helping the lives of kids. But there’s a darker side – as any actor will tell you, that will always be more interesting to play. Like Neil, on the surface, we have a man who was only interested in helping but underneath, at the core it’s more about his personal gain and ambition.
‘I think what was really interesting was working with Jamie and Richard is just terrific and they know Hollyoaks backwards. There was so much energy and it can be difficult to come in and film in a long standing show because you don’t know how it works, but they really helped me get into the role.’
Of course, a villain like Cormac is never going to be given an easy ride by viewers invested in Felix’s story – and James is prepared for some element of backlash.
And he still has a rolled up newspaper shaped scar to prove that he’s had it all before.
He grinned: ‘I stay well away from social media, I have never ever had anything to do with social media! I always remember before I did Coronation Street as a regular, I did four episodes in the show as a character who stole Mike Baldwin’s money and literally, the day after, I got whacked over the head by an old lady with her newspaper saying “give him his money back”.
‘Television really has this power to make people respond passionately so if you have a character people can hate or love, that is a nod to the writers if they can create that. I did think she’d be on my side, given that Mike Baldwin is a villain in himself!’
While chatting to James it was clear that he had enjoyed being back at work for this storyline – particularly with the arts industry facing a crisis it has never endured before.
He sighed: ‘Talking to friends, it has been a strange time for us all. So much of the industry, particularly theatre, is dependant on people being able to go. To be brutally honest, we’re at our wits’ end recently. A lot of us are feeling that if you can be a plane for 12 hours, why can’t you go to the threatre? Entertainment is a lifeline for so many people.’
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