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'Hollyoaks' Bronagh Waugh talks funeral scenes, Cheryl's future

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Cheryl Brady - played by Bronagh Waugh

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks favourite Cheryl Brady has more difficult times ahead next week as Lynsey Nolan's funeral takes place.

Cheryl is hoping for closure as she prepares to pay her last respects to her best friend, but with twisted Doctor Browning pleading not guilty to Lynsey's murder, it remains to be seen whether she can fully move on any time soon.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Bronagh Waugh, who plays Cheryl, to hear about the funeral scenes, her character's future and more.

It's definitely been a big year for you on the show! How have you found it so far?
"It's been fabulous. I feel like I've waited a long time to be able to get my moment. Cheryl is an amazing character who's always been supporting everyone else, but in this last year there's been a lot of focus on the Brady family and it's just been such an honour to be able to do the more serious material.

"The writing team is just fantastic - they keep coming up with more and more things. The last year feels like a real pinnacle for me in my career at Hollyoaks. It's great, as I always said that I wanted to come in and give the character as much depth as I could."

Is there a part of you that misses Cheryl's more comedic side?
"What I really miss is her identity. I think Cheryl can be serious while still looking the way she looked, and I'm hoping that we'll get that balance coming up. For example, just before Lynsey's funeral, Cheryl comes down the stairs dressed all in black with her hair straightened and not much make-up. But then she says to Brendan, 'I don't feel like me'.

"After that, she goes back upstairs and changes back into something colourful, which is more like the old Cheryl. I do really miss that, and I'm hoping that I'll get to bring some of Cheryl's old flavour back. I think that's what's so vulnerable and adorable about her - she just keeps getting it wrong when it comes to her dress sense, and that lends itself to some comedy.

"This year I've had a wonderful opportunity to do some serious drama, but I'm also hoping that we'll get some of Cheryl's fun side back."

Lynsey's funeral day in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures


Pictured: Cheryl on the funeral day.

What else can we expect from the week of Lynsey's funeral?
"Lynsey was a very important character for Hollyoaks and instrumental to the whole Silas plot, which I think is when the audience really warmed to her. She was a huge part of Cheryl's life and Brendan's too, because Brendan grew up with the two of them.

"There will be some really emotional scenes in the week of the funeral. But the coroner has had Lynsey's body for a few months doing tests, so I think Cheryl's now trying to be really strong and act as the matriarch for everyone. She's organised the funeral to take the pressure off the family, so you'll see a real maturity and strength in Cheryl - she's trying to do it right for Lynsey.

"There is a really heartbreaking scene at the funeral and also afterwards. There's some really unexpected stuff for the audience towards the end of the week. It's going to be a really, really strong week and I think the viewers will feel like they've got what they needed."

What is the mood like between Cheryl and Brendan?
"Well, obviously there's still the aftermath of Hollyoaks Later. Cheryl has shunned Brendan, because obviously seeing your brother chop up a dead body isn't ideal! That's quite hard to forgive, but Brendan is trying his hardest to seek forgiveness from Cheryl, and she's letting him in little by little. As much as she's angry with him, she knows it would be wrong to totally shut him out."

Lynsey's brother Eoghan is also in the episodes, isn't he?
"Yes, he's an old family friend, but also an ex-boyfriend of Cheryl's. It's nice to have that support there for her, and I think the audience will enjoy having that new character in.

"Alan who played the role is an absolute sweetheart. He's tall, gorgeous, very hunky and an absolute darling to work with. It was also really nice to expand the Irish clan once more. At one time, there were five of us here, and now it's just Emmett and I! I think the audience will like Eoghan and there's some unexpected turns with him. You'll have to watch the whole week to get the full picture."

Eoghan confronts Brendan in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures


Pictured: Lynsey's brother Eoghan with Brendan.

Doctor Browning is also still causing trouble by pleading not guilty to Lynsey's murder…
"That's a huge shock for Cheryl! She goes to the court hearing, because she wants to be standing in front of this man when he says sorry for what he's done. She never even contemplates that he might plead not guilty. In a situation like this, where a killer doesn't admit fault, they kind of hold a piece of that person forever. It's hard to grieve for someone when their killer won't admit any fault."

Cheryl saw Brendan cutting up Mick's body, but she doesn't know that he killed Nana Flo. Would you like her to find out?
"Personally, I don't want Cheryl to ever find out the truth about how Nana died. I think that would be a nail in the coffin for Cheryl and Brendan. At the moment they're trying to rebuild their relationship, and it's important to me that they do. I think they're each other's only support network at the moment.

"The Bradys are such a tight-knit family, so I think it would be incredibly disturbing if Cheryl ever found out the truth. But then again, she doesn't know about the abuse that Brendan suffered or that Nana did nothing about it. Maybe if she knew why Brendan did it, it would change things - but I still think it'd be a hell of a lot for her to take on board. That's Brendan's ghost and sometimes it's best to leave some stones unturned."

Are you hoping we'll see Walker pop up again?
"I hope so, but that's on a selfish level because I love Neil Newbon, who's a wonderful, generous actor and also rather gorgeous, so that helps too! He is such a pleasure to work with. His whole story is based on Brendan and revenge, and I think there are some untold stories there. Whether or not we'll get a chance to tell them or not, I don't know.

"There are definitely questions unanswered, because Walker just disappeared. That will be a weight on Brendan's shoulder, and Cheryl will be dreading the possibility that he could come back!"

What did you make of Cheryl's little romance storyline with Nate in Hollyoaks Later?
"I think it was very sad that their relationship ended up fizzling to nothing! I don't think it would have if Cheryl hadn't walked in on Brendan cutting up a dead body! If that hadn't happened, I think they'd be married by now!

"Cheryl has definitely gone through a lot and she's lost a lot of people. She needs her brother back now. I hope that will happen, as I can't bear it otherwise. Emmett and I are such good friends and I don't like it when our characters don't get along."

Lynsey's wake in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures


Pictured: Cheryl and the local residents at Lynsey's wake.

Do you think Cheryl needs a new friendship in the show with Lynsey gone?
"Cheryl is still clearly missing her best friend, isn't she? Someone needs to replace that best friend, because at the moment it's like French without Saunders or Thelma without Louise! I'd very much like Ste to step in and take that position. They'd make a great team. Kieron is my best friend in real life and I think that pairing would lend itself to some funny, lighter moments.

"I also love Cheryl and Nancy together. When Steph was unwell, I think Cheryl and Nancy were hysterical together. I'm hoping that we get to explore the lighter stuff and I'd love us to do more book club stuff, too. Maybe we can get the gay characters to come into the book club. It'd be hilarious to have Ste, Doug and Brendan in on the girls' book club!"

Emmett has been hinting that he wants Brendan's story to have a beginning, a middle and an end. Do you feel the same way with Cheryl?
"Absolutely yes, I really do. As an actor on any job, you've got to find the journey and understand where that journey goes. Some actors can see it working for them in many different rehashed ways, but I wanted to come in and show that this wonderful, larger-than-life and big-hearted character could have lots of layers to her.

"There's a huge history with the Bradys, and I always said that I wanted to look into Cheryl's background, her family and what makes her tick. We're starting to look into that now. But for me, having a beginning, a middle and an end is the only way you can do justice to that character and be truthful to it. That's for the best for the fans too, because they don't get sick of you!"

> Read more '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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