Thrown by Pauline's arrival and the fact that his boyfriend Doug Carter (PJ Brennan) invited her, Ste finds his bad temper returning and ends up trashing the deli in a rage - only for ex-lover Brendan Brady (Emmett Scanlan) to unexpectedly come to the rescue.
Digital Spy recently caught up with Kieron Richardson, who plays Ste, to hear about this week's storyline and the latest on the 'Stendan' and 'Stug' love triangle.
How does Pauline's return to the village come about?
"In the build-up to Pauline coming back, Ste is feeling quite low as he thinks that he hasn't really got any friends. There's been a memorial for Riley with a lot of lad banter, which Ste can't join in with. He ends up feeling quite isolated and he turns to drink after that. Ste is just a bit depressed in general, because he doesn't have family he can rely on like Doug does, and Amy has left now too.
"Doug's answer to all of this is to ring up Ste's mum, as he thinks Ste must be missing his family. Doug isn't really aware of the past between Ste and Pauline so he thinks he's doing a good thing, when in actual fact he's opening a big can of worms that Ste thought he'd got rid of.
"When Pauline turns up, it's a complete shock to Ste because they've had no contact at all in the past three years. But all of a sudden, she's there on the doorstep!"
For the benefit of newer viewers, can you remind us of Ste's relationship with his mum?
"What regular viewers will know is that Ste was brought up in an abusive background, with his stepdad beating him up. His mum was an alcoholic, so he's never really had any loving family whatsoever. That explains why he went off the rails, stole cars and beat up Amy - he'd only ever known abuse in his life.
"The last scenes we saw with Pauline involved her stealing money from Il Gnosh, where Ste used to work with Tony. Her parting words were that she wished Ste had never been born, so there's certainly no love lost between them!
"They haven't spoke at all since then, so Pauline doesn't know about Ste's sexuality, she's never met baby Lucas, she doesn't know about Brendan and she definitely doesn't know about Doug. She's got a lot to find out about!"
It soon becomes clear that Pauline hasn't changed her nasty ways. Does Ste stand up to her, or will we see her walk all over him?
"Pauline definitely gets under Ste's skin and she gets him in an emotional state, but I don't think he's afraid to say exactly how he feels about her. It's an interesting situation because the way Ste reacts is something that Doug has never seen before. She takes him back to a place from his past - a bit of a dark place.
"As Ste is struggling to cope, he goes to the deli and smashes up the shop. So I think it's nice that we're keeping bits of the old Ste, and now introducing it into the 'Stug' and 'Stendan' relationship storylines."
How did you find getting into such an angry state for those scenes at the deli?
"I actually think it's great for any actor to get themselves into that place. It's not every day you can come into work and have someone say, 'Here you go - smash up a shop and throw some plates at the walls!' If you've had a bad day or a bad week, it's great to get all of your anger out!"
How does Brendan react when he sees Ste smashing up the deli?
"Well, what's nice is that recently we've understood a lot about Brendan's past and how he's been treated, and now we're revisiting Ste's background. When Brendan finally sees Ste in such an angry state, they have this really nice heart-to-heart in the deli where they're both sitting on the floor.
"Ste says to Brendan, 'We're both the same, really. I've given you a hard time over these past two years for your behaviour, when in actual fact I'm the same as you'. So they have this nice conversation, but then Doug walks in and automatically thinks that something has gone on between Ste and Brendan.
"It actually hasn't, though! If anything, Brendan says to Ste, 'If there's anyone you should be with, it should be Doug'. So we get to see a nice side of Brendan too."
Does Doug see Pauline's true colours, or is he fooled by her?
"I think Doug can pick up on what's going on, but he doesn't fully understand at first. The more that Pauline is there, he does see the way that she's speaking to Ste, and he tells her to watch her behaviour in a few scenes."
Brendan ends up paying Pauline to leave the village. Does Ste know about that?
"No, Ste is completely unaware of that. Recently we've seen Brendan say that he's bought the shop for Ste, he's bought the flat for Ste - and I think this is another example of Brendan trying to control Ste's life without him being aware.
"Brendan is making sure Ste is alright and he obviously sees that Pauline is a problem, so he pays her off to leave him alone."
After so many arguments and problems between Ste and Doug, do you think maybe they're not as well-suited as they thought?
"I think it's just teething problems - as with any relationship, you're going to argue at the beginning. You have a loved-up period, but then there'll be little squabbles. The only thing that's different about this relationship is that Brendan is always looming. It's like there's always three people in the relationship, so it'll be interesting to see how it unfolds."
Could you give a definitive answer over who Ste loves more?
"I still always sit on the fence with this question, because I love working with both Emmett and PJ individually, and they're both very talented actors. The characters of Brendan and Doug have also got completely different qualities in their relationships with Ste.
"With Brendan, I always envisage that they have amazing sex, but they're just not good for each other because there is domestic violence involved. Then with Doug, I always feel that Ste can be himself more, he can have more of a laugh and it's a less controlling relationship. I'd also say Doug is more of a gentle lover towards him.
"So they both have different qualities, and I think Ste is definitely in love with both of them. But I guess it's up to the audience to decide which one he loves the most, because he definitely can't make the decision himself yet."
Being on Twitter, do you get a sense of which relationship is most popular with fans?
"The 'Stendan' relationship has been going on longer than the 'Stug' one, so those fans are really, really passionate. But now the 'Stug' fanbase have got their own thing going on too, and it's really nice that they're also so passionate about the storyline and can't wait to find out what happens next.
"I've also noticed on Twitter that the two fanbases fight with each other and they start picking on each other! I try not to get too involved, but it's nice that they love it and that we can get a reaction."
We asked for questions on Twitter and heard that some 'Stug' fans are losing hope for their future after some of the recent spoilers. Is there anything positive you'd say about those two?
"What I would say is that last week we released a video which said that a marriage is going to happen. For the two of them to get married, they must definitely be in love. It's no secret that there's going to be a big incident at the wedding, but people will have to tune in to see it. It's really exciting, though.
"People think they know the answer to everything, but they don't. Hollyoaks is there to shock, and I think what's coming up is going to leave a lot of people with their jaw wide open. Twitter is going to go off the scale!"
As you're such a big Cheryl Cole fan, another viewer tweeted us to ask what three words you'd say to her if you ever met - apart from 'I love you'!
"I'd love her to follow me on Twitter, so I'd probably say, 'Please follow me' or 'Giz your number!' I don't know why I'm absolutely obsessed with her, but I am. She's on my Twitter profile, I've got her book and fans even send me Cheryl Cole presents all the time. I've been sent Cheryl Cole posters, a Cheryl Cole mug, Cheryl Cole bottle openers. She tweeted me once, but she's still yet to follow me. Maybe it will happen one day!"
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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