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Loui Batley and Zoë Lister ('Hollyoaks Later')

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Loui Batley and Zoë Lister ('Hollyoaks Later')
It's the end of the line for either Sarah Barnes or Zoe Carpenter during tonight's dramatic episode of Hollyoaks Later when one will plunge to their death as a skydive goes tragically wrong. Completely unaware that Lydia (Lydia Kelly) has sabotaged one of the parachute packages, Sarah and Zoe - played by Loui Batley and Zoë Lister, respectively - throw themselves out of the plane. While free-falling, one girl suddenly discovers that their parachute won't operate. We recently caught up with Loui and Zoë to chat about the episode, the stunt and their characters' relationship.

How did you get involved in Hollyoaks Later this year?
[LB] "I had meetings with Bryan [Kirkwood] about doing the Later episodes and it was a really good, dramatic storyline. I did last year's too, and it was so much fun - you get more time to do stuff and you get away from the studios and go on location. It's just a bit different to doing the normal shows."
[ZL] "I don't really know how it came about but I had such a good time on the late-night episodes last year - it was a whole different Hollyoaks experience to be part of and to film. I was definitely up for it, especially when I heard about the story and the opportunity to learn how to skydive!"

What's it been like working with Bryan again?
[LB] "It was great actually because when he was doing the normal episodes, he was so busy arranging stuff and he didn't get to come on set much because there was so much stuff being filmed at the same time and people going off on different locations. With the late nights, because we were just filming one thing at a time, he was on set a lot to give his feedback. It was really nice to work with him again - everyone had a lot more time and a lot more energy for the late-nighters."
[ZL] "It's been really good, actually. He was on set every day, lurking! He had a lot of input into how he wanted it all to end up looking. It's his baby and it's been nice to have him around."

What was your reaction to your storyline when you first heard about it?
[LB] "I thought it was brilliant and really exciting but obviously traumatic as someone dies, so I knew it'd be dramatic as well - an actress's dream! It was great working with the girls as well because we had so much fun!"

In a nutshell, where are we up to with the story three episodes in?
[ZL] "In a nutshell?! Let me organise my brain! There are a few of us who go on a skydive/adventure camp getaway. Zoe and Sarah have gone because Lydia's doing Sarah's head in. It was all fun and lovely then Lydia turns up (of course) and she's basically jealous of Zoe and the relationship Zoe and Sarah have - whatever that is at the time. She's really jealous and starts plotting. In episode three [Zoe and Sarah] both get really drunk in classic Zoe and Sarah-style and it all ends up a bit silly and Sarah takes things too far, bless her - she's in love. There's a drunken fumble in the tent. Lydia overhears the drunken fumble and she's not happy in the slightest."
[LB] "Then it's the skydive! We're really starting to get nervous about it and doing our last minute training. Unbeknown to anyone else, Lydia's sabotaged one of the parachutes. Then we all end up in the sky free-falling and there's a big question mark over who's going to cark it!"

Has Sarah come to terms with the fact that she's a lesbian?
[LB] "I don't know because from the beginning, Sarah was always boy crazy, so for her, I don't think it's about being one way or the other - I think she's just very clingy. What would have been good for her would have been to spend some time on her own and be her own person and learn what and who she is. She's always clung on to people, relied on them, believing that they would make her happy. I think that's what happened with Zoe as well because they were such good friends. With Lydia, she brought something to her and she got on with her and was sparky, which is something that Sarah liked. I don't know if she'd suddenly turned, though. Maybe she was more bisexual than anything."

Do you think your characters still have proper feelings for each other?
[LB] "I think that for Sarah, Zoe's the best friend she's ever had - a lot of people in her life have let her down but Zoe's her rock. Even though they've had their fall-outs, she's always been there for her and she loves her as a friend. I think Zoe feels the same. But for Sarah it's something more - she completely relies on her and that turns into love for her as well."
[ZL] "I don't think they do have feelings for each other in that way. Last year happened and Zoe put it down to history and experience - one of those things that teenagers get up to occasionally and she was quite happy to leave it there. They've got through a lot and their relationship is really quite special. There's a lot of love there but Zoe's not got anything sexual for Sarah - it's purely a deep friendship."

Were either of you tempted by the skydive?
[LB] "I was honestly very tempted but then I thought it was tempting fate a little. We were coached so well - I went on the training to learn how to do all the manoeuvres but I'm absolutely terrified of planes and heights, so it was a bit of a crazy thing to ask me to do! I originally thought I might be missing out on a big opportunity but it's not something that I'd ever want to do or ever have to do so I'm glad. Zoë's always wanted to do it so she's fully trained up to be a skydiver which is great but me and Lydia were like 'No way!' There was no way they'd have got me up in a plane without a holiday at the other end of it!"
[ZL] "I've done ten! That was for the training, though. There were several jump days because it's so weather permitting. As you move up the training levels, every time you jump it gets a little bit harder. Now I'm jumping out on my own which is what they needed for the shot. We did a lot of green screening but it'd have been a shame to have done all the training and not actually get the money shot in!"

What's been the funniest part of filming for you?
[LB] "For me, I think it had to be all the pretend skydiving stuff because we used cranes and were on ropes dangling in the air. It was amazing but slightly painful - we had this harness nappy on and spent a whole day swinging from it. I managed to conquer my fear of heights a little though, dangling from a wire off a 300-foot crane! We had all the wind machines too, before filming the jumps from a static plane onto the crash mats!"
[ZL] "It was definitely when Loui and I were on a late-night shoot outside in the dark. We were filming the drunken scenes where we fall into a brook. We had a real giggle doing it - I had mud all over me, it was ridiculous!"

And finally, can you tell us who dies?
[LB] "I'm saying nothing…"
[ZL] "Me neither…"

Check back at 10pm this evening for a reactionary interview with the unlucky skydiver...

Additional reporting by Philippa Warr Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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