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Soaps Interview

Nicole Barber-Lane (Myra McQueen, 'Hollyoaks')

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Nicole Barber-Lane (Myra McQueen, 'Hollyoaks')
Hollyoaks' McQueen family are in for a rough time next week when their secret relative Niall Rafferty (Barry Sloane) exacts his ultimate revenge on his unsuspecting family by attempting to blow them up in a church. Matriarch Myra - played by Nicole Barber-Lane - not only has to deal with the revelation as to her son's identity, but is also forced to choose which of her children live and die. Here, Nicola chats to DS about the week's storylines and her secret on-screen son.

Myra has no idea where her kids have disappeared to, does she?
"Not an inkling. She doesn't realise that they've disappeared until she sees Jacqui and asks her where everyone else is. Jacqui tries to assure Myra that they'll be okay, but Myra begins to panic when she discovers that they're not anywhere they're supposed to be. She knows something's definitely going on when Tina 'leaves Max' for Myra to look after with a note which resembles the note Myra left with Niall when she left him at the church."

It's fair to say that Myra wasn't an angel when she was younger, was she?
"Definitely not. She's always fallen for the bad guy, the ones that aren't good for her. They're the ones who give her a challenge along with a bit of fun and excitement. She always believes in true love, though. That's why she constantly gets hurt."

Why has Myra not been looking for her son?
"In her head, she doesn't want to find her son anymore because she thinks that she's a bad omen. All the bad things that have happened to her, she believes, happened because she gave her son away. However, by trying to find her son, she's being punished in different ways with her other kids. The Catholic guilt kicks in and she feels that it's all her fault. She decides that if she tries to find her son, she'll take him away from the white picket fence and the lovely life that she's created for him in her head. As far as she's concerned, she thinks that he's in a beautiful home, with a lovely mum and dad that are probably lawyers or doctors. That's why she really believes that she did the right thing giving him up when she was young."

When she turns up at the church, she's not prepared for the shocking truth about her son's identity, is she?
"She turns up at the church because Tina's sent her a message. Myra doesn't know what's going on in the slightest. She doesn't realise all her kids are there, she just thinks Tina's there. Niall stuns her when he takes her by the scruff of her neck and shows her the step she left him on as a baby. At first, she's completely confused by his actions but it slowly starts to dawn on her, especially when she sees the rest of her family in the church."

And Niall plays one last sick game…
"Niall tells the whole family that he's going to wipe them out. But then he decides that for every one of his questions that Myra gets right, one of her children can live. So he asks Myra a number of questions - some she could guess the answer to and some that I'd not have a chance of knowing. It's really traumatic for her and everyone's trying to help her answer the questions, too! Niall then takes us all to the altar and tells us to pray. I can't remember the exact wording and I think a lot of it will have gone to compliance because originally it was a really harrowing script! We're all tied up at the altar and Niall asks us if we want to see his surprise - and lo and behold, John Paul's there. He's actually returned on the understanding that there's a surprise birthday party for Jacqui and that's how Niall grabbed him."

Does Myra get many of the questions right?
"She only gets a few correct, so he forces her to choose the kids she wants to save and he tells her that if she doesn't choose, they'll all die. For a mother, that's such a ridiculously difficult decision. She does choose, though - that's something that comes back to haunt her."

One of the McQueen children doesn't make it out alive, do they?
"Well, once it explodes, nobody knows what's going on at all - it's pandemonium. Nobody knows who's alive, or who's dead."

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