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Exclusive: 'Hollyoaks' Rob Norbury talks Riley exit, future plans - interview

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Riley Costello from Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks aired Rob Norbury's final scenes on Channel 4 this evening (October 3) as his character Riley Costello died in another surprise storyline twist for the soap.

Riley had been left in a critical condition after being shot by bad boy Walker and ultimately failed to pull through in hospital - leaving his loved ones devastated.

In real life, Norbury filmed his Hollyoaks exit a few weeks ago and has since been busy working on Training Daze, a comedy-drama pilot he has written and produced himself.

Digital Spy recently caught up with the actor for an exclusive chat about his future plans - and his reaction to Riley's shock departure.

How are you feeling now that your time at Hollyoaks has come to an end?
"Well, I've spent two good years there so I can't really complain. Riley had a failed wedding, he had a baby, another wedding, and he was involved in the late-night episodes too - so I think I've done alright and there's been plenty going on!

"Obviously all good things come to an end, and I think Riley had been through quite a lot. The fact that he couldn't make up his mind between Mitzeee and Mercedes was probably always going to be his downfall in the end.

"It's also been quite good that I've had another project to throw myself into. It's been a bit hectic, so sometime soon I'd like to maybe have a bit of a lie-in, and go and sit on a beach for a couple of weeks!"

How long has Riley's exit been in the pipeline for, and when did you finish filming?
"I finished filming on the 11th of September. I knew I was leaving quite a while ago now, so then it was a case of waiting to see what my leaving story would be. We decided in early summer that I was going, and then we ended up having a chat in July or August time when they said they'd had an idea of Riley being killed.

"I said, 'Yeah, why not?' It's better than a lot of other exits that you can get, and I wanted to make sure that I got a proper send-off, so it was really good."

Rob Norbury (Riley Costello)

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks logo

© Lime Pictures



Is there a part of you that wishes the door had been left open?
"Well, obviously acting is a bit of a scary world, so it's always nice to maybe have an option of going back. But at the same time, sometimes it's nice to make sure the door is completely shut before you go, because it kind of takes that option away from you. It also means that you're getting a good exit and getting the chance to test yourself a little bit before you go."

Was it difficult to keep such a big plot twist to yourself?
"Well, it did come out that I was leaving which was disappointing, but with 400 people working in the building, it can sometimes be tough to keep secrets under wraps. I hope people were still surprised by the exit storyline!"

What can you tell us about your final day on set?
"As we film out of sequence, my final scene was one where Bobby was missing, so it was certainly a little bit of an odd one to go out on! It was good, though, plus I think we managed to finish early that day which wasn't bad!

"It was quite a nice final day - obviously I'd been building up to it in the weeks beforehand. I'd kind of been slowing down, because there were only a couple of scripts left to shoot. I think by that point I was well-prepared for the fact that I was going. The day after, I had some leaving drinks in Liverpool and a few people turned up.

"Since then, I've been pretty busy so I don't think it's properly sunk in yet. Obviously I'll miss people there and it's quite sad when you leave, but at the same time it's exciting to get out there and try your hand at something new."

Mercedes accepts Riley's proposal.

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks, Mitzeee and Riley kiss, Tue 25 Sep

© Lime Pictures



Who do you think was the love of Riley's life out of Lynsey, Mercedes and Mitzeee?
"I think they all had bits about them that he found appealing, but probably in all honesty, none of them! The fact that he did keep changing his mind between them maybe suggested that he wasn't meant to be with any of them."

Which stories were your favourites to film?
"Probably the wedding last year. It was great, and not many people get to have a soap wedding. We really went for it, and Jen Metcalfe was great in those episodes. It was also fantastic when Silas was revealed as the killer - that was a little bit of a momentous moment! Plus, any scenes where I was working with the Costello family were great."

Who will you keep in touch with?
"There's loads of people. I'm good mates with PJ who plays Doug - it's always been a good laugh when he's been on set. I still keep in touch with Craig Vye who played Ethan. It was always great to work with Karen Hassan who played Lynsey, and we're still close.

"I loved working with all of the Costello family and Rachel Shenton. And obviously Jen - we've spent two years working almost every day together, so that was a great laugh. There's plenty of people who will still be in my phone book, and quite a lot of crew as well."

What can you tell us about your new project Training Daze?
"It's something that I sat down and started writing 15 or 16 months ago. Since then, we've managed to get a few people involved and get a bit of interest in it. We've got Gemma Atkinson, Craig Vye, Adele Silva, Verity Rushworth, Richard Graham and Karen Hassan on board, plus I'm in it too. Alex Carter has also got a little cameo in it.

"It's a gym-based comedy-drama which we've been filming on-location in Oldham, so hopefully it will all work out and be on screen at some point."

Is it challenging to go behind the camera and try to get a project off the ground?
"Definitely - I'm realising that it's more than a one or two man job - it's a more of a ten-man one, but I've found that out a little bit too late! It's been a little bit stressful, but it's also kept me occupied. I'll be ready for a rest after it, though!"

Riley woos Lynsey.

© Lime Pictures

Tensions subsides between Riley and Doug.

© Lime Pictures



Would you appear on another soap?
"Of course I would, it's been fantastic being on a soap as you get to ply your trade every day of the week. A lot of people don't get that opportunity, so I'd never rule out being on another soap. I think I'd probably be better suited to Corrie or Emmerdale than EastEnders, but if they're ever in need of anyone Northern down there, I can pop my head down!"

How would you like Riley to be remembered?
"Well, I hope the viewers can forgive him for his toing and froing over the past couple of months! That's the nature of the beast - sometimes things have to be done to allow other characters to prosper, and Riley was caught in the crossfire.

"I think he was a good egg, and if he's remembered as that, I'll be happy. There's nothing wrong with having normal blokes on the telly every now and again, and I think that's what Riley was."

> 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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