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Bonus Scoop: Hollyoaks' Gerard McCarthy

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Here are a series of cuttings from my recent interview with Hollyoaks' Gerard McCarthy - Kris Fisher in the show. Rather than cuttings, it's actually turned out to be the other half, judging by its length!

Anyway, part one of the interview is located here. Meanwhile, the second half continues below.

Where abouts in Ireland are Kris and Malachy from? Did you actually film on location in Ireland?
"They're from Belfast but we filmed most of it in Prescott, 20 minutes down the road. It looks more like Emmerdale than Belfast!"

Does 'Ma Fisher' have a first name?
"When they announced that Gemma Craven was going to be playing Ma Fisher, the final draft of the scripts hadn't been released, so they hadn't decided on a name for her. It just ended up being Ma Fisher in the scripts, but her name is Erin."

What's it been like working with Gemma Craven? I hear she's a icon of yours?
"Incredible. It was always going to be a bit of a 'challenge'. I didn't want to be going over to Ireland and what we find out about Kris not match his back story in the main show. When I read the script through, there are an awful lot of similarities between Kris and his mother. They both have this very strong façade, in that they put on a very strong front to the rest of the world but when it's just them on their own, you see the real people behind the mask. As Kris is very much like his mum, Gemma picked up on this. To work with someone like Gemma who only last week celebrated 40 years in the business, is amazing. She's done everything. And she's hilarious."

Any chance that she could turn up in the main show?
"I've even talked to Lucy Allan about bringing her into the show and I'm fighting for it, but who knows? She was never intended to turn up in the main show but Glen [Wallace] who plays Malachy was only originally intended for three episodes…"

Do you think Kris is more 'complete' now that Malachy's around?
"Yeah, I do. For a long while, Kris was just this enigma that refused to be labelled. So to have his brother around - who knows exactly who he is and knows exactly why he is - just works. You see the real side of Kris when Malachy's around, as opposed to the 'performance' he puts on with others. He's like a Jekyll and Hyde character. When he's behind closed doors, he thinks he's 'safe'. I love having Glen on set. He's one of my best friends and has been since I was 11. He's the closest person I have in real life to a big brother, so the brotherly scenes come very easily."

What's on the horizon for Kris in the main shows?
"What happens after the late-night eps is that everything's wrapped up with his mum - the secrets are out. Kris is then given this lease of life where he thinks life is too short. He returns to the village with a vengeance and makes up for the severe lack of sex. He embarks on this huge love triangle - one's a guy and one's a girl... He's trying to find someone to love him but, of course, he goes about it in completely the wrong way."

How long do you see yourself sticking with Hollyoaks?
"Who knows? It really is a tough question because I'd considered leaving this Christmas. But after meetings with producers they went on to explain that they were bringing in Kris's brother Malachy permanently for the HIV storyline and promised five E4 specials. Of course, when you're given a storyline like that, you can't turn it down. With hindsight, it'd have been silly to want to leave at Christmas and I've agreed to stay on. It really is one of those questions, though, where there comes a point in the character's journey which wraps them up."

What was your reaction when you heard that Bryan was stepping down as producer?
"It came as such a shock to everyone. When I first joined the show, it was for three months and Bryan came to be and offered me a year's contract. At the time, I asked him if he was going to be there for the year, because he had created my character. When I ask the questions, he answers them. Kris is Bryan's brainchild. I said to him that if he left, I'd be [working] with a producer who doesn't know and love the character. It's almost as if I'm babysitting Bryan's baby by playing Kris! I just feared that if Bryan left and was left with a producer that doesn't care or appreciate for the character like he does, Kris would turn into a caricature. Bryan's created a fantastic character in Kris and I can't think him enough for casting me in the role. I'm going to miss him as a boss and a friend even more. He's a producer that from the minute I arrived at Lime Pictures, he made it very clear that his door was always open. He's just a fantastic, warm person. We're keeping our fingers crossed that he's still going to be based at Lime and so we'll still have the friend even if he's not our boss."
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