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'Hollyoaks' Joe Tracini talks Savage plot, Dennis future - interview

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Joe Tracini as Dennis Savage in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks joker Dennis Savage finally gets a chance to prove himself to his family next week as they battle to raise funds for a new place to live.

While Will's idea is to throw an Enchanted Forest-themed music festival in the village to come up with the cash, it's Dennis who is left to save the day as he heads to Liverpool to track down singer-songwriter Maverick Sabre as a headline act.

Fans will see the story begin in an E4 special titled 'Chasing Rainbows' next Thursday (June 7), before Maverick Sabre pops up on the main 6.30pm show to perform at the Savage Party the following evening.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Joe Tracini, who plays Dennis, to hear about the storyline and his character's future.

What was it like to film these special episodes with Maverick Sabre?
"It was really nice and Maverick Sabre was a lovely bloke - he was very friendly and really up for getting involved. I can imagine that a lot of people would come up for this, want to do the music and that's it. But he was really up for having a laugh as well.

"You'll see that he's in next Friday's (June 8) episode for his performance at the music event, but he's also in the E4 special on the Thursday. We had a really good time filming the episodes and he was so much fun to work with - a really personable bloke."

The whole story centres around a dispute between Dodger and Will over how to raise some cash. Does Dennis take a side?
"Dennis is a little bit split - he gets involved in both camps, especially because he's a character who just wants to be loved anyway! He normally rests with Dodger most of the time, but in this case he tries to keep involved with both of them, just so he doesn't upset anybody."

When Dennis takes control of the situation by finding a headliner for the event, is he trying to prove himself to the Savages?
"He is! Over the next few episodes, you'll see that Dennis feels like he's really not a part of the family. So when he gets a chance to prove himself, he takes it and runs with it. He doesn't know exactly what he's going to do, but he tries his best because he doesn't feel particularly accepted."

Joe Tracini and James Atherton

© Lime Pictures



What can you tell us about the E4 special 'Chasing Rainbows', where Dennis sets off to find Maverick Sabre?
"The episode only goes out once - it airs on Thursday (June 7) instead of the first-look, and it doesn't go out on Channel 4. We shot it all on different cameras, there's an original script and it's a complete entity of its own.

"We shot it all on-location in Liverpool in various different clubs and streets. It was really, really good fun - we had a great week doing it and I'm really looking forward to seeing it for myself. I think it's one of my favourite things that I've done since I've got here."

How does the attempt to track down Maverick Sabre go?
"Dennis, Leanne, Scott and Barney all go on the trip, and you'll see that there's quite a lot of tension between Scott and Barney - they're doing each other's crackers in quite a lot! There's a bit of tension between Dennis and Leanne, too.

"It's a tense half-hour, really - lots goes on! But by the end, it's really, really nice. It was a lovely script to work with."

How do they convince Maverick Sabre to come to Hollyoaks?
"Well, first of all they have to find him! Dennis says at the start of the episode that he knows Maverick Sabre, and at no point do you find out whether he actually does or not! The whole time, nobody's particularly sure whether he's just winding them up.

"They need to find out where Maverick Sabre's going to be, and then do their best to get him to come and play at the gig."

It sounds like you had the most scenes with Maverick, so were the rest of the cast envious?!
"Well, I have to admit, Calvin who plays Scott had a lot more in common with Maverick Sabre than me! They were chatting about music and I didn't have a clue what they were on about, so I think Maverick probably would have preferred to spend a bit more time with Calvin, to be honest!

"But what was great about Maverick was that there's a lot of sitting around waiting in this job, and he wasn't one of those people who buggers off with his people and sits in a room on his own. He stayed on set and we just had a really nice couple of days. He relaxed into the whole thing, rather than just concentrating on his performance - which incidentally, was brilliant."

The Enchanted Forest party gets under way

© Lime Pictures



On a separate note, Leanne recently told Dennis that she has no feelings for him. Was that the end for their storyline?
"Well, Dennis put an extreme amount of effort into that for quite a while, and I don't think that's the end of it. His feelings aren't going to go away completely and he's still going to give it a bash. But maybe just not as full-on as he's done in the past! I don't think he's going to give up completely."

As you've had some more serious scenes recently, have you enjoyed exploring Dennis's hidden depths?
"I really have. Dennis acts like an idiot a lot, but I don't think you can ever laugh at someone if you don't like them, and you can't like them if they're not real. When I first came here to Hollyoaks, I wanted Dennis to be as real as possible and not a caricature - I think that's really important in a show like this.

"I genuinely really like the fact that they've given us the chance to do more serious stuff, and I've got more of that coming up. It's nice to have a balance and it's nice to have a challenge."

You've also got the dynamic at the flat with Dennis's housemates…
"I love that, especially with all the stuff they've got going on at the moment too. They're great to work with, particularly PJ [Brennan] who plays Doug. I always say to Peej that it's like working with a 'proper actor' when I work with him. PJ really thinks about it and he's got his process, whereas I'm just there and seeing what happens - I don't know what's going on! I absolutely love working with him and I think he's brilliant."

Tensions subsides between Riley and Doug.

© Lime Pictures



Do you think the Savages are becoming a bigger force in the show now?
"I think so. Performance-wise, I think Danny [Mac] and James [Atherton] are both bloody brilliant, and I think the dynamic of the family is quite a real one. It's quite a believable group of people and a relatable one at that.

"It's lovely that they're pushing the family a lot more and they've got a lot more coming up - they've got some really exciting stuff on the way. It's nice to have the chance to play that and make it as real as possible."

In real life, you're housemates with Emmett Scanlan (Brendan Brady). What's he like to live with?
"Intolerable! (Laughs) I stand by Emmett being certainly one of the best actors I've ever worked with - I'm sure that'll take a lot of beating in the rest of my career. As a person, he is a wonderful human being, but he is genuinely intolerable to live with - that's the only word I'll use for it!

"He meditates a lot, but normally when people meditate they come out of it and they're feeling quite relaxed, but he gets angry! He's like the Incredible Hulk - he's always angry!"

Is it true that there's some Dennis and Brendan scenes coming up?
"Yeah, we had an episode the other week where we had a couple of scenes - it wasn't too much, but it was a little bit. We enjoyed that immensely.

"It took us quite a long time to film it, because Emmett calls me 'Funny Little Face Man', and all he has to do is look at my face and he starts uncontrollably laughing! It can go on for anything from ten seconds to five minutes, so that was pretty taxing! Those scenes will be coming up soon, but I'm sure it'll just be a reflection of our real-life relationship, which is me talking and him making me terrified!"

> 'Hollyoaks': Maverick Sabre to appear on soap
> 'Hollyoaks' James Atherton teases Savage Party event - interview
> Read more 'Hollyoaks' spoilers and news

'Chasing Rainbows' airs as an E4 exclusive on Thursday, June 7 at 7pm. Hollyoaks airs the Savage Party on Friday, June 8 at 6.30pm on Channel 4.

Photo gallery - Behind the scenes at the Savage Party: Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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