After a surprisingly stress-free train journey, we were picked up in a rather luxurious coach - leather seats no less - and shipped across the city to Childwall where the studios are located. On arrival, most of the cast were waiting for us drinking bubbly and it certainly didn't take long for us to join in!
A good mingle and a few glasses of fizz later, we were treated to a sneak peek at a clip reel from the first two episodes of Hollyoaks Later - which this year is headed up by former Hollyoaks producer Bryan Kirkwood. There's a significant amount of location shoots on the go at the moment as filming for the five-part series is well underway.
So what can I tell you about the first two eps? Not much other than: there's a wedding (!), the teens go to a festival, there's a lot of romping and the McQueens head to London! Oh, and former Bad Girls actress Nicola Stapleton appears across the week, too! That's all I can say for now really, but check back in next week for more juicy Later info. The other three episodes of the week are huge.
Hollyoaks series producer Lucy Allan then took to the stage to say a few words about how honoured she is to be working with the programme and how excited she is about what's on the horizon storyline-wise. We were then treated to another clip reel, this time from the main show. Teasers appear below, but hopefully I'll be able to organise clearance to show you the clips in due course. No promises, though!
That over, it was BBQ time, just in time for the heavens to open. Did it rain, or did it rain? All fed and watered, we were given a guided tour of the set by Ricky Whittle (Calvin) and Jennifer Metcalfe (Mercedes).
After a quick game of Fight Night Round 4 on the Xbox, courtesy of the lovely people from EA, we were handed some Wii freebies, before returning back to our base for more drinkies then homeward-bound.
I'm sure you're all dying for some teasers about what's to come, so I'll keep you in suspense no more…
Meanwhile, Darren (Ashley Taylor Dawson) and Cindy's (Stephanie Waring) plot to scam Tony (Nick Pickard) and Hannah (Emma Rigby) ramps up to the point where Tony makes a shock decision that throws a spanner completely in the works for Cindy.
What else can you expect from Hollyoaks over the coming months?
Into August, the McQueens invade Evissa, Elliot's father Gareth turns up in the village after some meddling by Leila, Steph turns her attentions to Fernando, and Kris and Zak are arrested when a bizarre plot involving the words 'goat' and 'slimming' goes drastically wrong!
The Roy family unit, meanwhile, features heavily in September when Ash violently lashes out at his brother Ravi in a fight. The blow to the head causes his aneurism to rupture, leaving him in a coma. Unsure of how to handle the situation, Ash uncovers a family secret which has major repercussions on one of his siblings.
§ There's a massive stunt involving Newt in October
§ Jake returns…
§ A mysterious character called Duncan turns up in the village
§ Hannah tries to help Anita with a suspected eating disorder
§ A few skeletons in Loretta's closet threaten to haunt her when she's involved in an accident and she loses her job
§ Theresa's mother turns up
Finally, a special thanks must go to the press team at Hollyoaks for organising the day. It can't be easy coordinating a rowdy bunch of journalists and a huge cast at the same time!
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