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Ashley Taylor Dawson (Darren Osborne, 'Hollyoaks')

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Ashley Taylor Dawson as Darren Osbourne

© Lime Pictures

Long-standing Hollyoaks resident Darren Osborne experiences a life-changing day in the soap's 3,000th episode this week as his former lover Suzanne Ashworth gives birth to his twin children. Suzanne's waters break at the opening of Tony Hutchinson's new spa Look Sharpe and it's not long before she's calling for Darren to accept his responsibilities and be by her side while she's in labour. But can Darren adjust to the idea of fatherhood, and what will the shock developments in his life mean for his romance with Nancy? DS recently caught up with Ashley Taylor Dawson - who plays Darren - to find out more.

How did you feel about Darren playing such a prominent role in Hollyoaks' 3,000th episode?
"I loved it! I just thought, 'Bring it on - the more the merrier!' It's great - it's a great storyline for Darren as well after all the ups and downs that he's had in his life. It's been good fun to play."

3,000 episodes is a great milestone - what do you think is the secret of Hollyoaks' success?
"I think it's that the show is aimed at a younger audience and also that the directors are allowed to be quite artistic with what they do, whereas a lot of the other soaps are multi-camera and studio-based. Obviously we're single-camera and we get to play around with the shots - we have dream scenes and there's a real comedy aspect to it. It keeps the show young, fresh and interesting. Every episode and every week is different - not just with the storylines, but also with what you're seeing and the way it's shot. It's more candy for the eyes, put it that way!"

The storyline of Darren fathering twins with Suzanne surprised a lot of fans when it was first revealed - what was your own reaction when you heard what was in store?
"I was shocked in the same way, but it's just typical Darren! It's great. Suzanne's return has come at a time when things are going alright for Darren for the first time in his life - he's settled down a bit, he's realised that he's going to go for it with Nancy and everything seems to be going well. But in true Darren style, there's been a big spanner in the works. It makes for a very funny time ahead."

Darren and the twins
Suzanne gives birth in the 3,000th episode with Darren by her side - what can you tell us about that?
"They're both in Tony's spa, but Darren wants to avoid her after everything that's happened and because he wants to make it up with Nancy. But then Suzanne's waters break and Darren's just in shock - he doesn't know how to handle anything like that... even kids, never mind babies! Darren doesn't know what to do and it's all a bit of a mess, but Suzanne ends up having to stay in the spa to deliver the babies. Obviously Darren is the father so Suzanne starts shouting for him to get involved and he ends up delivering the babies himself! I think it's a moment where Darren changes a little bit."

Is there a comedy aspect to the birth scenes?
"Yeah, definitely. I think with Darren, there's always that sense of him being flustered and everything being a bit of a mess, and we see that here. It's pure shock for Darren - he just doesn't know how to react."

Do you think Darren will be a good dad?
"I think, in his mind, he's forced into it from the beginning. Before the babies are born, he tries to block it out of his head - he's in denial about what's going on. He's tried to tell himself that it's no big deal and that it'll be fine, but the reality of it is massive. When the babies have been born, he does step up to the mark and really tries hard to be the father that he wants to be. It changes him a bit and he matures very quickly, like you'd have to. I think he also enjoys it - he feels complete and like he has a purpose in life, whereas before he was always chasing his tail. That's as much as we know for now."

Will this be a long-term storyline for Darren, or will Suzanne leave the village with the children?
"I really don't know at the moment. It's touch and go, because Suzanne thinks that she's made a mistake by coming back so she considers going back to Spain. She thinks that Darren is a bit of a joke, really. She knows he means well but she doesn't think that he's father material. But Darren really fights against that because he wants to make a go of it. Whatever goes on with the babies, I think it'll really mess with his head!"

Were you glad to see Suzanne Hall, who plays Suzanne, return the show?
"Yeah, she's great. Suzanne's an amazing lady: she's great fun to work with and she's obviously an amazing actress as well. I couldn't be happier that she's back."

3000: Nancy and Darren
Have you enjoyed filming the Darren and Nancy romance?
"Yeah, it's great. It's very funny because Darren and Nancy have always sort of hated each other - he's the opposite of her. She's a feminist and he's a male chauvinist pig! For them to get together is a case of opposites attracting - for some reason it works. I think it's because, throughout their pompous ways, they've both had hard times and been through them with each other because they've known each other for so long. They've never seen eye-to-eye, but I think that when they sit down and chat they realise they have a lot more in common than they think. In the past they just didn't want to accept that."

Can Darren and Nancy's relationship survive after the babies arrive?
"Well, this is the thing - with the babies involved, Darren tries to juggle the lot and he asks if they can all move in with Nancy. We're used to Darren thinking of himself, but for the first time he's not - he's thinking of the babies. He thinks that everything will be fine, but for Nancy, taking on Darren, two babies and the mother of the children is all a bit too much! I think it'll be an interesting story - finding out how they get out of it, how it works and whether they'll stick together. I think they do have something special and it's been fun filming it, so hopefully they'll give it a go."

How did the cast feel about reaching 3,000 episodes?
"It's a great milestone for the show. We've done well over the years and, like I say, Hollyoaks always keeps that freshness about it. Every day is different when you're shooting because there's different directors and that's what I enjoy about doing the show - the directors are all doing different things. Hollyoaks has done really well to get where it has considering where it started, and I hope it goes on to progress. We've had different producers in over the years and we've just changed producers again now, so it's onwards and upwards for 2011! I'm looking forward to the future."

> Click here to read more from Ashley Taylor Dawson in Soap Scoop

Hollyoaks' 3,000th episode airs on Friday at 6.30pm on Channel 4. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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