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Ricky Whittle 'downplays Hollyoaks cull'

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Ricky Whittle, Calvin Valentine, Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks star Ricky Whittle has commented on the slew of characters announced to be exiting the teen soap.

This week it was announced that 16 characters are to leave the show under new producer Paul Marquess, including Ricky's onscreen family the Valentines.

However, Whittle - who last year confirmed he would bow out of his role as former-policeman Calvin - had dismissed rumours of a fallout, insisting the developments are an "exciting time" for the programme.

Speaking at the Tric awards, where he scooped the 'TV Soap Personality' gong, he told Holysoap: "It's not this mass cull that everyone thinks it is. It's just people are coming to the ends of their contracts. People are choosing to do different things. It just so happens that everyone's contracts are coinciding - they're all ending at the same time."

"The Valentines are going, I was going anyway, Nathalie Emmanuel [Sasha Valentine] was leaving at the end of her contract anyway. Dominique [Jackson, who plays Lauren] as well, Brian [Bovell, who plays Leo]. So it's not a big mass exodus. It's that things need to be freshened up and a lot of people are doing it for their own careers. And then the boss has come in and he thinks he wants some new families in as well, so some people's contracts aren't being renewed. So it's exciting times for the show and I'll keep watching it when I've gone."

Other characters due to exit the show over the coming months include Jake Dean (Kevin Sacre), Loretta Jones (Melissa Walton), Barry "Newt" Newton (Nico Mirallegro), and Zak Ramsey (Kent Riley). Archie Carpenter (Stephen Beard), Spencer Gray (Darren Longford), Dave Colbourn (Elliot James Langridge) and Des Townsend (Kris Deedigan) who are also being phased out. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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