After a slow-burn introduction to Hollyoaks, newcomer Kevin Foster is brought to the forefront next week as he falsely accuses Brendan Brady of sexually assaulting him.
Kevin's shocking allegation comes as he continues to follow Walker's orders, which means trying to make Brendan's life as miserable as possible.
Digital Spy recently caught up with Elliot Balchin, who plays Kevin, to hear more about the storyline twist and his mysterious character's background.
How are you settling in at Hollyoaks?
"It's been amazing. In terms of the whole cast and crew, it's one of the friendliest environments that I've worked in. Everyone makes such a concerted effort to introduce themselves and just make you feel welcome.
"It's great, particularly because we've got so many long-running cast members here. You'd think they'd be sick of new faces after a while, but everyone's amazing. I've been blessed."
Are you pleased with Kevin's storyline?
"I think it's been great, because it's subtle to start with and the build-up is nice - it's very gradual. Because I'm around such big characters with major storylines, it's nice to come in under the radar.
"The characters and the audience are learning new things about Kevin all the time, so there is a shock factor when things start to come out. That's nice, because I've had so many people messaging me with questions. Kevin does become integral to the story, so it's nice to have people guessing and questioning."
How do you describe Kevin?
"Kevin has been on the streets for years and he's been in the foster care system. His beginning in the show is quite similar to Ste's. Ste came into the show originally as a little scally, and Kevin emulates some of the qualities that Ste had at that time. It's nice that Brendan picks up on that and there are parallels to be made.
"I think Kevin is led by his circumstances. He finds himself in circumstances and situations that he wouldn't put himself in by choice. Deep down he's not a bad person. He has the ability to manipulate, but he's not evil."
How long has Kevin known Walker for?
"I was really lucky to be working with Neil Newbon, who plays Walker, because we spent a lot of time together before we started shooting. We were going over our backstories, and a lot of it we created ourselves. We re-enacted Kevin and Walker's first meeting and stuff like that.
"Between us, we worked out that while Walker has been on the run for the shooting incident with Riley, he spotted Kevin pick-pocketing and doing little bits of criminal activity. Walker also saw the similarities between Kevin and Ste, so he realised that he could use all of this to his advantage.
"Walker has been talking to Kevin about Brendan's history for quite a while. We decided that they'd been planning this for a good few months before the viewers even saw Kevin on screen."
Why does Kevin lie to Brendan and claim that he was abused by his uncle?
"It's because Walker has told Kevin all about Brendan's abuse as a child. As so few people know about his history, Brendan has no idea that Kevin already knows his secret. When Brendan hears the story about Kevin being abused as a child, he instantly feels a connection with him.
"It's manipulation at its worst, but then Kevin slips up out of fear the next day - he knows that he's in way above his head! After that, Brendan knows that Kevin is lying."
We've heard that Brendan gets violent with Kevin after that. How far does his attack go?
"Luckily, it's stopped before it gets to a certain stage, but then Walker also beats up Kevin. He gets into a few scrapes - my time in the make-up chair is long every morning, and usually entails some cuts and bruises!"
Is it Kevin's idea to go to the police and claim that Brendan sexually assaulted him?
"It's all Walker's idea! The thing to remember is that Kevin has spent so many years on the streets on his own. He thought that this Walker guy was going to give him some sort of protection and stability, but then the real Walker shows his face.
"With a lot of the stuff Kevin ends up doing, it's purely through fear. He's got one of two choices - he either gets beaten up by Walker or beaten up by Brendan! He's stuck between a rock and a hard place."
Does Ste believe Kevin's false allegation?
"What's interesting is that Kevin puts the seeds of doubt into Ste's mind. There's no outright statement from Ste of, 'I do believe you' or 'I don't believe you'. But Kevin is fantastic at putting seeds in people's minds which become slow-burners. He gets people thinking things without them realising he had anything to do with it.
"Kevin starts manipulating the relationship between Brendan and Ste quite well. He puts a spanner in the works. Their relationship has been at its best before Kevin starts, but it does go slightly south."
Next week's episodes also see Walker tell Kevin that he wants Maxine dead! How does Kevin react?
"Well, Kevin and Maxine's relationship develops as time goes on. Kevin would never intentionally want to cause harm to another person. He's not a violent person and he doesn't have the same evil streak as Walker. Things become quite interesting between Kevin and Maxine, but you'll have to wait and see what happens."
What kind of feedback are you getting from the Hollyoaks fans?
"Well, the relationship between Brendan and Ste is a much-loved one and it's very heavily followed by the fans. The feedback's been really positive, but one of the main things is that they're worried and terrified about what Kevin's going to do to Stendan!
"I think people get upset if anything disrupts that relationship, especially as it's been going so well recently. But that's nice as any reaction is a positive. If you're affecting the audience in some way, it's great."
Have you enjoyed working with Emmett and Neil?
"It's so good. One of the joys of working with Emmett is that he always changes things slightly - it's never the same thing twice. That means that you have to be completely in the scene every moment, because you never quite know where it's going to go.
"I think that's a joy to work with, because it just means that it's spontaneous and real. It's the same with Neil. Emmett and Neil both work extremely hard, so to be around that work ethic makes you want to work harder yourself."
Which other cast members have you made friends with?
"The cast are great. Laurie Duncan who plays Callum is a great friend, and so is Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove who plays Texas. Danny Mac is also a joy to be around. Bronagh Waugh is like mother hen, so you can't help but be in love with her!
"I have to say all of them, though. We all go on nights out together and everyone makes a point of letting everyone else know what's going on."
How does Hollyoaks compare to your previous work?
"It's such a new way of working. I have an absolute new-found respect for soap and soap actors, because of the speed of the turnover and the amount of stuff you have to process in such a short space of time.
"I've learned invaluable lessons while I've been here at Hollyoaks, and that's the great thing - you come in every day and you're learning. It's the longest time that I've spent on one role so far, so it's great for me. I've just come out of drama school and I took a three-year break for that, so I couldn't have asked for a better way back into the industry, really."
Is Kevin sticking around in Hollyoaks?
"Kevin's story develops quite a lot from now, and as for where it's going to go from here, we're still in talks. There's a question mark over it at the moment, but Kevin's character has the potential to stay on for a bit longer, so we'll have to wait and see."
> Read the latest 'Hollyoaks' spoilers and news
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
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