You took over from Bryan Kirkwood at the beginning of the year. What were your visions for the show when you took the reins?
"I know I've said it on numerous occasions, but I think it was a show that was in brilliant shape when I inherited it, so therefore you don't want to make big, key changes to something that works. However, I think there are things coming up over the course of the summer and into the rest of the year that show certain changes in terms of style and the way we perhaps tell stories."
Bryan blew up The Dog when he took office at the head of the show. How are you going to put your 'stamp' on it?
"In terms of Bryan coming in and doing the Dog fire in the way he did, that was a necessary stamp at that point in time when the show needed that kind of help, whereas the show's in fairly rude health at the moment, so there's no need to have some enormous cull or have a big stunt to say 'here we are'."
It's been quite quiet in the village over the last few months. What can we expect in the second half of the year?
"We've got loads going on in the second half of the year. Obviously we've got all of the stuff with The Loft fire, building up to the exit of three major characters from the show in big, exciting storylines. Then we move into a summer of love, teenagers, trouble and mayhem and re-establishing a lot of characters within the show, before building to a massive September."
You've just come out of long-term story conference. What are you really excited about in the coming months?
"It's difficult because there are loads of storylines and loads of stuff in conference that I'm really proud of and really excited about. If there's one particular group for which we've got a long-term story which I think will be thrilling and really unexpected - and something which only Hollyoaks could do. It's with our teenage kids."
Roxanne McKee, Jamie Lomas, Stuart Manning and potentially Emma Rigby have all left/are all leaving. How are you going to deal with the huge dent in the greenroom?
"I don't think we have a huge dent in the greenroom. Yes, we have lost some characters, but it's a natural turnover of soap that people stay and leave. But with the youth-oriented show that we are, characters outgrow their usage. We have characters that we've been waiting to grow up and who have grown up in the show, and we're pushing some of them to the forefront. But also there are going to be a few new faces, particularly in the university halls."
New character called Stav?
"I can't really talk about that one, but there are various characters that come and go during the course of the year."
All soaps seem to have locked onto delving into the history books and bringing back well-known faces. What are you thoughts on bringing back past characters?
"I think it depends, doesn't it? We all know that sometimes old characters come back to plug a story hole or a quiet couple of months, in which case it's perhaps not the best thing in the world. However, I think if there's a big story that involves characters that are already in the show, then absolutely [bring them back], let's not say 'no'."
Is it something you're actively exploring?
"Not actively looking back on the history of the show, because, as I say, I don't think we've got story holes that we need to plug as it currently stands... If you bring people back, it's got to drive stories on not go backwards."
How proud are you of Stunt Week?
"I can't wait. I'm extraordinarily proud - they're fantastic. They were a real challenge in terms of production, storytelling and compliance and I think everybody has really pulled together... They're certainly going to be ones to watch. There's a lot within all the episodes during the week that people will found surprising. I hope viewers will feel a sense of satisfaction when they watch them."
There's now a heavy focus on the youngsters of Hollyoaks and the older, more established characters seem to have taken a back seat...
"Obviously it's a show that's centred around the younger characters and always has been. I think it's about having a level playing field in terms of story and I think perhaps there were an awful lot of stories that featured older characters last year. It's now about levelling it out to ensure that mix of stories is always there so we're serving all areas of the audience."
But characters like Myra don't seem to be getting the storylines...
"Again, I think it's about who's central to the show. Myra plays a very important role as the mother in the McQueen household. It'd be abnormal - and certainly not something we've done previously - to run a story that came from the point of view of one of those more adult characters. However, that said, Myra has an awful lot to do over the next year, so you certainly aren't going to miss her on screen."
Will you be having any input into the new run of Hollyoaks Later?
"All I know is that it'll be in a similar format to last year where it will follow the 6.30pm show and will have those links back through to the main show."
> Click here to read some more character and cryptic plot teasers from Lucy Allan in Soap Scoop