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Soaps Interview

'Hollyoaks' newcomer James Farrar reveals Liam Gilmore role details

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James Farrar as Liam Gilmore in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks shakes up Jen and Tilly's romance storyline next week with the arrival of Jen's brother Liam Gilmore.

Liam is a new cheeky charmer for the village, who learns of Jen's fling with Tilly in his first week on screen. Keen to look out for his sister and her blossoming career, how will he feel about the secret teacher-student relationship?

James Farrar, who plays Liam, recently chatted to Digital Spy about his debut on the Channel 4 soap and what's ahead for his character.

How are you settling in at Hollyoaks?
"It already feels like home, as everyone's been so welcoming. On screen and off screen, great relationships are being formed and I've made some good friends already.

"The on screen relationship with my sister is buzzing, and a few of the directors have said that we've got quite a natural click between us. So it's all going good so far."

How did you first hear about the role of Liam?
"It all happened on the spur of the moment, really. I'd actually gone up to audition for another character originally. Then I was given a call a few months back saying that I'd been cast as a different character - which would be Jen's brother - without actually auditioning for the part!"

How would you describe the character of Liam?
"Liam is a cheeky chappy, he's a charmer and he's happy-go-lucky. The essence is in the word 'lucky', because everything works out for him. He tends to get what he wants, and he won't stop until he gets it!

"Liam is also a smooth talker, he's a positive guy and he looks out for his sister a hell of a lot. You'll see that in the first week or so - Liam and Jen are very close, and he's there to help her out in any way he can. He wants to push her career, but at the same time, he doesn't want to ruin her personal relationships."

James Farrar as Liam Gilmore in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Amy Downham as Jen Gilmore on Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures



What can you tell us about your first scenes?
"Liam's introduction comes when he meets Tilly for the first time, which wasn't planned by Jen. There's a lot of secrecy between the characters, as Liam doesn't know anything about Tilly at first - but he can see by Jen's behaviour that she's a bit on edge.

"From then on and once the truth is out, there's a bit of friction between Liam and Tilly. Things go ahead from there and I couldn't tell you what the plans are, but friction is definitely the word for what's ahead between the three of us! I think I've come in, caused a bit of havoc and ruffled some feathers within their relationship, which was going so smoothly beforehand."

How does Jen feel about Liam interfering in her personal life?
"Well, as they've been brother and sister for so many years, Liam has looked out for Jen forever. When he first comes onto the scene, Jen almost forgets about Tilly for a while. Instead, she considers Liam as the number one, so they go out drinking and partying together.

"The two of them are very close, but I don't know how appreciative Jen is of Liam getting involved in her and Tilly's relationship. It seems that I'm butting my nose into something which isn't really my business…"

Are you pleased with where things are heading and Liam's place in the village as he moves forward?
"Definitely - it's nice to play someone who's a nice guy. Essentially, he's just a guy who's there for a new adventure, and he could go in any direction. He could turn out to be a hindrance to other characters, or he could be the nice guy about town. I love how it's started, because you don't really know what's going on and where it's going to go.

"There's a great relationship between Liam and Diane, because he is living at the O'Connor house to start with, so you don't know what's going to happen there. You don't know what's going to happen with the relationship between Liam and Jen, or Liam and Tilly. So every time I get a script in, it's very exciting and I can't wait to get going with it. The storylines at the moment are juicy, and I just can't wait for them to get juicier."

James Farrar as Liam Gilmore in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Tilly Evans - played by Lucy Dixon

© Lime Pictures



Is there anyone on set who you've particularly made friends with?
"Yes - David Atkins and I are very good friends already, as he took me under his wing when I first started. We're both lads' lads off screen and outside of work, so we go to the gym together and things like that. I really respect David's work in the past. I knew him before I came onto Hollyoaks for his work on Shameless and Doctor Who, and then his work in Hollyoaks is brilliant.

"There's a great relationship between us on screen, too. Considering that David's character Rob is very much a butch, rugby-playing lad and I've come along as this pretty boy who's ruffling some feathers in the village, we can expect some fireworks between those two.

"I can't reveal too much, but within a few weeks, you'll see that we've got a bit of a different relationship on screen than we do in real life. We're fond of each other in real life, but maybe not so much on screen…"

Had you watched Hollyoaks much before?
"Yeah, you're brought up with Hollyoaks, aren't you? It's something you watch as a kid, then through sixth form, and even after that at university - I've still got friends at university now who are avid watchers of Hollyoaks. The show deals with issues that everybody deals with in everyday life. You watch it because it appeals to your nature and what might be going on in your life."

You have some short films on your CV. What can you tell us about your previous work?
"There's one of those shorts that I'm particularly proud of - it's called Donkey and it was produced, directed and written by a good friend of mine, Keir Burrows, who was one of the tutors on my course at drama school.

"The project was made on a total shoestring, but it has done so very well. It went to Tribeca Film Festival, won a few awards in this country and was shown at the Odeon in Leicester Square. The fact that he only spent about £500 on this movie, having borrowed equipment and edited it himself, was beautiful and brilliant."

How does Hollyoaks compare to your past projects?
"It's a totally different ball game coming onto this set, where everything is more professional and the scale is so much bigger. I can put my trust in the hands of the people who are above me - you just know that they're going to do a good job, because Hollyoaks goes out onto national TV. It's very different to go from working with a crew of five on a short film, to the crew of 50 plus on this set."

There's already some attention surrounding you and your character after the role was announced. Is that strange to get used to?
"Well, I'm not very impressionable as a person, so it won't get to me. It's nice and it's flattering, because as a trained actor, I've worked for this moment - I've been in the industry for two years as a professional after drama school. For something like this to come out of it, it's like all the hard work has paid off.

"I have to thank the casting director Rick Laxton, who's met me a few times in London, as well as the producer Emma Smithwick, who put faith in me and cast me in this dream of a role. I'm just flattered, to be honest - I'm blessed."

> Read the latest 'Hollyoaks' spoilers and news

Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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