A character standing out on today’s crowded television landscape is no easy
feat; managing to do so on an ensemble show with fifty characters is a minor
miracle. Yet that is exactly what twenty-five-old James Sutton has managed to
do in his two-and-a-half years on the U.K. soap opera Hollyoaks.
Sutton joined the show in September of 2006 as newcomer John Paul McQueen, a
then-seventeen-year-old school boy confused about his sexuality. In the ensuing
two-and-a-half years, John Paul has gone on an emotional roller coaster
involving dating girls, falling for his best friend Craig Dean (Guy Burnet), and
having a tumultuous secret relationship with Dean before the two ultimately
parted ways. That was followed by John Paul’s current relationship with Kieron
Hobbs (Jake Hendriks), a Catholic priest whose relationship with John Paul was
recently revealed while he wed a straight couple.
Left: Sutton with Guy Burnet ("Craig")
Right: Sutton with Jake Hendriks ("Kieron")
Despite the show’s sometimes over-the-top plot elements (a recent episode
featured a just-married groom being run-down by John Paul’s long lost older
brother who had been abandoned by their mother only to return seeking revenge),
Sutton has managed to keep his character rooted in believability. Indeed,
Sutton’s performance has so resonated with viewers that he was voted “Most
Popular Actor” at this year’s Digital Spy Soap Awards and his storyline with
Guy Burnet was named “Storyline of the Year”.
Sutton (left) with Burnet
Additionally, the John Paul/Craig Dean story also led to Hollyoaks being named Broadcast of the
Year at the 2007 Stonewall Awards given by Stonewall, a United Kingdom
gay rights group.
Much of the reason for the storyline’s success has to do with the talents of
James Sutton, the twenty-five-old actor who plays John Paul. AfterElton.com
recently chatted with him about why he was leaving the show now, what the past
two years have been like, wanting to be the next Doctor on Doctor Who and, now
that Craig is returning to the show, who John Paul should ultimately end up
with – Craig or Kieron.
AfterElton.com: First off, I want to
give you the chance to explain it was a joke that you are leaving the show or
to take it back. You’d make a lot of folks happy if you did.
James Sutton: I’m afraid it’s true. I am leaving. I have another four weeks
left to shoot and then I’m off into the big, wide, scary world.
AE: What were you shooting today?
JS: I’ve been shooting stuff with Guy Burnet who is back today … and we’re
going to rekindle our romance. My ex-lover.
Next page! Who should John Paul pick — Craig or Kieron?