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'Hollyoaks' to introduce disabled character

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'Hollyoaks' to introduce disabled character
Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks is to introduce one of its first prominent disabled characters to the show.

Bubbly, fun-loving practical joker Hayley Ramsey, played by 24-year-old soap newcomer Kelly-Marie Stewart, is to turn up in the village at the start of next year, much to the surprise of her brother Zak (Kent Riley).

Both character and actress suffer from Guillain-Barré Syndrome, an acute disease of the peripheral nervous system which affects the nerves in the arms and legs, resulting in inflammation, weakness and sometimes paralysis of the limbs.

Hayley hates being identified by her condition, but is realistic about its limitations to her everyday life, especially where romance is concerned.

Her arrival, however, causes friction between Zak and his new-found love Michaela McQueen (Hollie-Jay Bowes) when Michaela mistakes Hayley for a love rival.

Despite their once-great relationship, it quickly becomes apparent that there is a distinct frost between the siblings due to Zak's inability to see past her condition.

Speaking of her part, Stewart said: "Hayley's very feisty and has the right attitude that if anyone is not cool enough to see her for who she actually is, it's their problem, not hers. I can't wait to see how Hayley takes on anybody who dares to show their ignorance, not least her own brother!"

Stewart began filming at Lime Picture, home of Hollyoaks, last month and will first appear on screen at the end of January. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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