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Stephanie Waring (Cindy Longford, 'Hollyoaks')

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Stephanie Waring as Cindy Hutchinson

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks has been without one of its feistiest characters in recent months after Cindy Longford headed off for an extended honeymoon with her rich new husband Alistair. In real life, meanwhile, actress Stephanie Waring departed the role temporarily for maternity leave and gave birth to her second child Lexi last September. However, to the surprise of the village's residents, Cindy makes a shock comeback this week - and now she's a millionaire and free of responsibilities as daughter Holly is at boarding school, she looks set to be more outrageous than ever! Here, Stephanie chats to DS about her return to Hollyoaks.

How does it feel to be back at Hollyoaks?
"I've been back now for about six weeks and it feels really good. Obviously I do miss the baby like crazy but she's been with me most days when I've had really long days, and work have been really good by not throwing me right back into a demanding schedule. So it's been quite a good balance and I've really enjoyed it. It's been nice to go back. When you've been pregnant and you're thrown into being a mother again, it can be quite consuming, and coming back to work has let me have that bit of sparkle back, which has been nice!"

Did it feel like you were away from the show for a while?
"Do you know what, it's felt like it's gone really fast. It just doesn't seem like two minutes ago that I was on set like a beached whale, having to hide my bump behind counters, handbags and big bouquets of flowers! So it has gone really quickly. But obviously going back feels a bit different because now I'm not huge and there's no baby kicking in my belly every time I'm doing a scene! It's been lovely."

3033: Cindy
What can you tell us about Cindy's return?
"She's the same old Cindy, but she's been taken to another level because she's a millionairess now and she's got what she's always wanted - the money. She used to go with any guy who had money and that was her main objective because she's basically a gold-digger - the ultimate gold-digger, I would call her! So she's a lot of fun and very camp. It's Cindy with money, but she has no taste! She'll buy things just because they're expensive and she just has no idea. So she's all blinged-up and really fun to play this time around - there's no misery with her and she doesn't really care what anybody else thinks. She'll tell it like it is, and she's come back to make her mark and put her own stamp on the village."

Do we find out much about Cindy's time away, or is it all a bit mysterious?
"It's a little bit mysterious. She's basically been travelling with her hubby Alistair and their last stop was Switzerland, where there was a tragic accident - and sadly poor Alistair fell off an Alp, in true Dynasty style! Whether Cindy was there or not I cannot say. But the circumstances surrounding his death were very simple as far as Cindy's concerned, while others are a bit suspicious of her motives and how she got her money."

How are things between Cindy and Tony following her return?
"I think, in Cindy's eyes, she's got one over on him now. He always used to boss her about when she worked at Il Gnosh and she was his wife, but now she's got the upper hand and she really plays on it. She likes to humiliate him - and I think she does a pretty good job!"

And is there any interesting stuff coming up for Cindy and Darren?
"Initially they have a moment, because there's always going to be a spark there between them. But I think any romance is quickly stamped out when she finds out about the twins and the fact that he was recently engaged to Nancy. She gets over it pretty quickly, though - in true Cindy style!"

Do you prefer playing Cindy's softer side or the bitchy side she's showing at the moment?
"I love this side to Cindy that we're doing now - it's so much fun and I think it's the epitome of who she is. She has got a soft and vulnerable side like everyone else, but she just chooses not to show it. There are those moments in life where she is vulnerable and we do see a glimmer of that when she finds out about Steph's death. She's not completely hard and she also has her moments with Darren - I think he's the only person who she lets her guard down in front of. With everyone else, a big wall comes up and she doesn't let anybody else see that vulnerable side. But I definitely prefer playing her at her most glamorous and most bitchiest!"

Who else will we see Cindy sharing screen time with in the coming months?
"I think we'll see her form a nice friendship with Noah, and I think there'll be a nice little relationship with Ste along the way. Also Mandy, as Mandy returns - we have a lot of good stuff coming up together and that's really nice because we started together when Sarah was 14 and I was 18, all those many years ago! So it's nice to have our characters back together again."

Are you enjoying being a mum again?
"Oh yeah, Lexi is such a good baby and I'm very, very lucky because if I thought that I'd be going back to work and she'd be missing me or wasn't in good hands, I think I'd just be on set worrying and always wanting to be with her. But she's such a happy little thing and she comes in to see me while I'm in work, so it just works out really well. I'm really happy that I've got the chance to do what I love and be a mum at the same time. But no more - this is it for me! I've got my two girls, my two little princesses - I've got a nice little family, so I'm very happy."

> Click here to read more from Stephanie Waring in Soap Scoop

Cindy's comeback episode airs on Wednesday at 6.30pm on Channel 4. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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