With the Roscoe clan continuing to shake up life in Hollyoaks, Digital Spy recently caught up with actor Ayden Callaghan - who plays eldest brother Joe - to hear more about what's coming up for the family.
As the unofficial patriarch of the Roscoes, fans have already seen Joe trying to keep his younger siblings out of trouble. However, events may be spiralling out of control in the next fortnight as Doctor Browning continues to pile on pressure over their debt, as well as turning sinister with Joe's fiancée Lindsey.
Read on to find out what Ayden had to say about all things Hollyoaks and Joe!
How are you finding life at Hollyoaks so far?
"It's been a while for us now, as we started in mid-March and had to keep it quiet for some time. The worst part was probably having such a great time and not being able to tell anybody about it!
"It's really a pleasure to get up in the morning and come to work here at Hollyoaks. I've always been terrible at getting up in the morning, but now I'm bouncing out of bed and into work first thing in the morning. I'm loving every second of it, because it's a very vibrant and energetic place to work."
When did you first hear about the role?
"Interestingly enough, I was very close to getting a previous role on the show and got down to the final screen test, but that didn't work out. Obviously that was for the best in the end, but I wasn't to know that at the time!
"I remember that I was in a pub last September with a friend at Muswell Hill and he told me that he was auditioning for a new family in Hollyoaks. I hadn't heard anything about it, so I emailed my agent that night hoping that I could get seen. I was told that I wasn't being brought in for this one and was gutted, but several weeks later, my agent said, 'Ignore me - they want to see you tomorrow morning!'"
What was the audition process like after that?
"I had a meeting the next morning with the casting director Kevin Riddle in London, and was told at lunchtime that they wanted to see me again in Liverpool the next day. I was in Liverpool all day and met some of the guys who became my future on-screen brothers.
"A few weeks later, I was back in Liverpool for a similar process, but it was just with the guys that you see on screen now. We did some workshops and worked with different scripts, and then just before Christmas we found out that we'd been successful. It was a long process, but they were obviously being very particular about finding the right actors and getting the chemistry right. I think that's proved to be very successful and hopefully the results speak for themselves."
How do you describe Joe?
"I think Joe is your alpha-male type - he's red-blooded and passionate. When we were in the development stages, the characters didn't have names but we were given animals to think about. Joe's animal was a lion, so that sums him up - he's powerful, he can be dangerous but also incredibly protective of his family, as a head lion would be.
"On the surface, Joe is pretty straightforward - there's no nonsense and you absolutely know where you stand, because he'll tell you! But there's a lot of stuff under the surface and a lot of things that have happened in Joe's past, which have led him up to this point. I would say he's battling himself a lot to keep the beast inside tame.
"One of the things we've talked about is that Joe is just one red mist away from the nick! But having met Lindsey and fallen in love, he's got something to better himself for and try to work towards. Lindsey very much keeps him on a level ground. Without Lindsey, I think Joe could be incredibly destructive to himself and to anybody around him…"
Will we hear more about Joe's past over time?
"Well, the creative team have been fantastic in creating such wonderful characters for us, and we've spoken a lot about their history. That history informs what we do on screen and how the characters react to different situations. There is a colourful past there with Joe, and I'm sure in time there will be elements of that coming up to the surface and into storylines. Obviously I can't go into too much detail, but I think there's plenty of scope for love, drama and laughs."
Next week, the Roscoes hold a topless car wash to raise some cash as they still owe money to Doctor Browning. Was that fun or embarrassing to film?!
"It was fun as it serves a comedic purpose in the show. It's a bit of light-hearted entertainment which is important for a show like Hollyoaks. You get to see the three brothers stripped to the waist with the ladies and having a great time!
"There is an element of embarrassment - of course there is! I don't think any of us love ourselves that much! (Laughs.) At the same time, I do spend a lot of time at the gym and work hard at my physique, so if I see that I've got to take my top off in a scene, it's not something that frightens me."
When Browning turns sinister with Lindsey, does she tell Joe about it?
"Lindsey actually keeps that to herself for a little while, as otherwise Joe would be straight in there to sort it out! That's probably why Lindsey keeps quiet, because she knows that his way of solving problems is usually to go through them like a wrecking ball!
"Obviously it's a new job for her at the hospital and Browning is her boss, so it probably wouldn't be the best career move to have her caveman of a boyfriend come storming in and ripping doors off the hinges!"
What kind of reaction have you seen from the fans since the Roscoes arrived?
"Even before the first episode aired, our castings were released to the press and I could see just how active and passionate the fans of this show are. It's something that I haven't experienced before, even though I've been on the soap circuit in the past. The show recently won a number of prizes at the Soap Awards, and that's down to having an incredible fanbase.
"The fans really have been overwhelming with their generosity and their support. It's lovely to receive those messages - and having social media tools gives you a quick link to the viewers, which is lovely.
"People seem to be getting on board with the Roscoes in a huge way, and I think having someone like Gillian Taylforth - who's a British TV icon - on board certainly doesn't hurt!"
How are you getting along with your on-screen brothers?
"We're getting along great. Fabrizio (Ziggy), Charlie Clapham (Freddie) and Alfie (Jason) live together, and then myself and Charlie Wernham (Robbie) also live together separately. We did discuss all five of us living together to begin with, but I said that I might end up killing someone! (Laughs.)
"As lovely as they all are, I'm an old lion and need my space. When I'm at home, the remote control is mine and the TV is mine, and everybody would have had to obey those rules! I said that it was probably better for me to disappear into my own cave, or have someone come along with me who's happy to be my little flunkey! Charlie Wernham was first to the post on that and couldn't wait!
"We do all get along great and I think the chemistry does come across on screen. That's a testament to the casting department at Hollyoaks and the producer Bryan Kirkwood. From day one, we've clicked and all of the love and fun you see on screen is very evident in real life. We hang out together most days and have a really, really good time."
Has your previous experience on Emmerdale helped you with Hollyoaks?
"Being on a soap previously has helped, because I knew what to expect in terms of what it would be like day-to-day and everything that comes along with it. Emmerdale is a great show to be part of with great people working there and great fans, but they're not as active online, as the demographic there is slightly older. The fans of Hollyoaks are much more active and interactive with you, so that's something different."
As you have that experience, do the other Roscoe lads approach you for advice?
"Yes, the boys do sometimes. I'm not here to be their dad as they need to make their own way, but they do come to me for advice and say that it's nice having me about. If I feel like there's something I need to tell them, I'm not backward in coming forward with them. They're great, talented lads and I know that if I wasn't here, they'd be getting on just fine."
> Read more '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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