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'Hollyoaks': Joseph Thompson talks awards, Doctor Browning plots

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Joseph Thompson as Doctor Paul Browning in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks often brings in fresh faces, but scheming Doctor Browning has made a bigger impact than most in the past year with a series of memorable storylines.

Originally introduced a year ago to stir up trouble at the hospital, Browning went on to take centre stage in one of the show's biggest plotlines when his intense feelings for Mercedes McQueen led to him murdering Lynsey Nolan.

Viewers have recently seen Browning return to screens to cause more chaos, while in real life, actor Joseph Thompson has made the shortlist for 'Most Popular Newcomer' at the National Television Awards 2013 for his portrayal of the character.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Joseph to hear his reaction to the nomination and Browning's recent antics!

How do you feel about being in the running for 'Most Popular Newcomer'?
"It's massive and I just feel really overwhelmed, to be honest. The support is great and it means so much to know that I'm on the shortlist because people have voted. I'm so grateful to the fans who have taken the time to vote, and I'm just excited and very flattered to be there.

"It's also really nice for the show to be up for an award, too. Hollyoaks is a really great place to work and an exciting place to be, so it's important that it's represented there in the 'Best Soap' category. Emmett Scanlan is also in the running for 'Serial Drama Performance' and I think he's so brilliant in the show. I hope to God that he gets the send-off that he deserves and gets that award.

"I'm also just really excited to be going to the ceremony, as well, as it should be a good night!"

How do you rate your chances of winning the prize?
"I genuinely have no idea what to expect! I don't know how the numbers and votes will add up, as there are three other really strong nominees there. I'm flattered to be in such good company. I was delighted to be shortlisted and I'm happy with that. I haven't really thought about winning, as I'm just happy to be going!"

Joseph Thompson as Doctor Paul Browning in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures



You've had a lot of big scenes on Hollyoaks, but do any stand out as ones that you're particularly proud of?
"I feel really lucky as I think Browning is such a brilliantly written and devised character. He's so fun to play. I loved working with Rob Norbury and Karen Hassan, and of course, it's so great working with Jen Metcalfe too.

"I really enjoyed those scenes just before Browning was arrested, where he was trying to persuade Mercedes to run away with him. They were so fun to play. Since I've been back, the new material has been brilliant and it's a real treat to play such a complex character. I hope that people enjoy watching him and find Browning hard to work out."

You joined the show for quite a short story with Lynsey and Mercedes at the hospital last year. Did you ever imagine then that Browning would still be around a year later?
"Not at all! When I came in, it was just for seven or eight episodes and it was really good fun. Even when I got the pages to read at the audition, I could see that Browning was a fun character and something seemed to click straight away. I got on well with Karen and Jen from the start and had a really great time.

"I was really pleased to come back for three more months in the summer, and every time the opportunity came to go back, I jumped at it. I'm really happy to be involved, especially as there's big changes happening at Hollyoaks and a lot of exciting storylines about to drop."

Are you surprised that Browning has a fanbase after everything he's done?
"I am on one hand and I'm not on the other! It's very difficult for me to be objective about it, but I think often on TV and soaps, you get some bad guys who come into a show and are just 'bad'. I always thought Browning was written a bit differently to that. He's capable of absolutely anything, but the writing is so well-justified when it comes to what he does.

"Browning is a character who sees the world in a different way. He's got this psychotic logic, but then I hope people can see why he's doing what he's doing, even if it's still not right!

"To be honest, I thought there was going to be a massive backlash when Browning came back into the show after everything that happened with Lynsey. I just hope that people love to watch it. If they love to hate me, I'm okay with that - as long as they want to watch!"

Dr Browning helps Myra.

© Lime Pictures



Do you think Browning would ever kill again?
"He's capable of anything! It's an exciting and dangerous situation that he's already got away with murder. He's already got serious issues with the way that he's so egotistical and arrogant - he thinks he can get away with anything. You'll have to wait and see, as anything can happen!"

Has Browning felt any guilt about lying to Myra over her health?
"I just don't think he's wired the same way as other people! There were definitely moments when he realised what he'd unleashed and how upset Myra was. Overall, though, he'd say that he did that for the right reasons. He did it for Mercedes and to re-establish her relationship with Myra, so she gets her mum back.

"That plan has worked, so it's all justified in Browning's eyes. There might be a little bit of guilt, but he only did it for Mercedes and what's best for her."

Next week, Browning's boss Davies promises not to suspend him for what he's done - but only in return for one night with Mercedes… How does Browning react?
"This is a real crunch point for Browning. He'll do anything to get what he wants and it normally works. He's a high-flyer career-wise and I'm sure he's screwed a few people over on the way. But now suddenly he has Mercedes, who he's completely obsessed with. It's either Mercedes or his career, which he's worked hard for.

"It's a real sleaze-off between Browning and Davies! If you thought Browning was sleazy, wait until you see this guy. Davies thinks he's a master, so Browning is getting a taste of his own medicine and it's really interesting to see how that plays out.

"Mercedes offers to go along with Davies's offer, and I think this is why the relationship between her and Browning is so fun - neither of them can get a grip on what the other one is going to do. He can't control her and she does her own thing.

"It gets pretty desperate for Browning as Mercedes finds herself in danger, and it's interesting to see him out of his comfort zone. He's a real control freak, but what you're about to see is him losing that power."

David watches Mercedes and Dr Browning together.

© Lime Pictures



Are Browning and Mercedes soul mates?
"That's certainly how Browning sees it! I think he's genuine with that. Because he's so manipulative, it's sometimes hard to tell whether he means what he says. But with Mercedes, he's completely in love with her and fascinated by her.

"In short, Browning has met his match and that's a really thrilling battle to have. He thinks he's found someone who can make life exciting, when usually he's used to wrapping people around his little finger."

Through the 'Who killed Lynsey?' storyline last year, did you know all along that Browning was the culprit?
"They wanted to keep it so secret, so very little information was released to any of the cast. I knew that I was an option all along and it was discussed in detail how and why that might happen. So I was prepared for that, but they kept it so close to their chests.

"It was an amazing success how they kept it a secret, and it wasn't long before I filmed the scenes that I knew for definite that Browning was the killer."

Are you used to playing the bad guy?
"I've been quite lucky, as I've played all types of character. I've played a couple of bad guys, and I've played a couple of sleazy and arrogant womanisers as well!

"But I hadn't played a bad guy for a while before this, so playing Browning is really fun. My history is mainly in theatre, so it's great to be getting a good chance to work on a character on screen. I'm enjoying playing the baddie!"

> National Television Awards 2013 - nominations in full
> 'Coronation Street' star Natalie Gumede: 'NTA nod is a real honour'
> 'EastEnders' David Witts talks awards, Joey Branning future
> Read the latest 'Hollyoaks' spoilers and news

Viewer votes for the National Television Awards can be cast via the event's official website. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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