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Darren Day (Danny Houston, 'Hollyoaks')

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Danny Houston from Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks' new bad boy Danny Houston appears on screen for the first time next week as he continues his blossoming relationship with Jacqui McQueen and makes his presence known at Chez Chez. The club's manager Brendan Brady is thrilled to have his best friend around, but Danny doesn't get a warm welcome from everyone as a jealous Rhys is more than a little displeased over his growing bond with Jacqui. As announced last month, theatre star and entertainer Darren Day has taken on the role of Danny - and while he's only appearing in one episode for now, the character will be back on screen in shocking circumstances later this year. DS recently caught up with Darren to get the lowdown on his new part.

How did the role in Hollyoaks come about?
"It's been a rollercoaster, really! It's happened so fast. I got a phone call from my agent about two and a half months ago, saying that Hollyoaks had called up and asking whether I could go over to Lime Pictures the following day. Then there was a meeting with the producer Paul Marquess and the casting director Dorothy Andrews - we had a little chat, they told me about the character and put me on camera. I thought it would be two or three weeks before I heard anything, but I got a phone call while I was on the train back from Liverpool, telling me that I'd got the part."

What happened next?
"The role was initially for one episode, and within a week of meeting the guys I was in filming. I filmed the one episode and really enjoyed doing it. Then there were a few phone calls back and forward, saying that they really liked what I'd done and were going to write the character back in. I thought that was great. It's been a bit mad really, but in a good way! It's really exciting. At the age of 42, you think that those really exciting times of your career have been and gone, so it's great to get an opportunity like this. I'm really happy about it."

Rhys, Danny and Jacqui
How would you describe the character of Danny Houston?
"The producer has told me that he's the baddest on the block. There is going to be no-one badder than Danny Houston - he's about as bad as it gets and is the epitome of a soap villain really. I've been told that some soap magazines are nicknaming him Dirty Dan! For me, that's really exciting. He's a London villain and he's the silent partner in the nightclub. He's been involved in the business dealings from afar, down in London, and now he's going to come up and get involved on a personal level. Him and Brendan will be doing a lot of dodgy dealings. I've also been told that the storylines that are coming up are shocking storylines, but I don't really know much more than that."

Is Brendan scared of Danny, or are they equals?
"Well, everyone's wary of Danny because of his reputation and what he's capable of doing. But it seems that the plan is going to be for them to be partners in crime. As Danny is 11 years older than Brendan, he's probably been there and done it all. He's probably given Brendan a lot of advice - what Brendan is doing now, Danny was doing ten years ago. From what I've been told, no-one will mess with Danny - and for an actor, that's really, really exciting."

What is it about Jacqui that attracts Danny?
"When they went out for lunch with Brendan off-screen, they just seemed to click. Then they go on a couple of dates. But I think Danny gets a little bit heavy and possessive, and he isn't happy to see her talking to another fella in the club, so she gets a bit scared and backs off. When Danny comes back, though, they get together properly - and I think Jacqui feels she might be able to tame him a little bit. But he's not really up for that! He can't be tamed really!"

Jacqui is a really feisty character - does Danny find that quality hard to deal with in a girlfriend?
"I think he's actually quite attracted to that! I don't think he's used to it, as he's used to getting his own way - both in business and in pleasure. But Jacqui stands up to him, and even though he's not used to it, I think he likes it. He's quite intrigued by the fact that she's so feisty and he likes that edginess about her."

Jacqui, Danny and Rhys
What are Claire Cooper and Emmett Scanlan - who play Jacqui and Brendan - like to work with?
"Well, when I filmed my first episode, most of my scenes were with Claire and Emmett, and they were both fantastic. I got on like a house on fire with Emmett - we've been keeping in touch over the past few weeks, phoning and texting. We got on really well and I'm really looking forward to working with him again. And Claire was great as well."

What about the Hollyoaks cast in general - did you get a warm welcome?
"I have to say, everyone was great. On my first day, it was kind of like the first day of school - even though I'm 42 - because obviously everyone else is really established with each other and with the show. Everyone was really nice and I'm really looking forward to going back."

Is it true that you were a fan of Hollyoaks before you joined the show?
"Yes - when it first started, I used to socialise quite a bit with Nick Pickard, who's still in it, as well as Will Mellor and Jeremy Edwards. I was on tour in Manchester when the show first started, and the boys were obviously over in Liverpool, so some nights I'd go over to Liverpool, and some nights they'd come over to Manchester, and we'd all hook up together. So I watched the show from very early on, because I had mates who were in it. I'm a fan of the show, and I think that what Paul Marquess has done is reinvented it - it looks a lot grittier and a lot edgier now. I've watched the transition happen over the past few weeks, and for that reason, it's a really exciting time to be joining."

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