I recently had a chat with the man behind that revamp - producer Paul Marquess - and you can find the main interview by clicking here.
Part 2 of the interview follows below. Will Brendan and Amy be staying? Would Hollyoaks ever do a live ep? And why have there been so many unpublicised storylines recently? Read on to find out…
Emmett Scanlan was originally brought in to play Brendan on a six-month contract - can you confirm that he'll be staying on beyond that?
"Yes! We've got long-term plans for Brendan Brady."
Is it important to carry on with the domestic violence aspect of the Ste and Brendan storyline, or will that take more of a back seat now?
"I think that definitely pays off in 2011, and pays off in quite an interesting and unexpected way. I think what everyone's got to remember is that the first perpetrator of domestic violence was Ste [with Amy]. So the thing that I'd say is that Ste has got that in him. If people keep watching in 2011, it doesn't go quite as you'd expect it to go - and it's much more layered and complex than maybe people will expect."
"Well, we've got Doug coming back - we liked him a lot. He was only a character for a week, but we thought he was great and he brought a very different flavour. We'll have a new batch of students coming into the show in September or October, but we haven't even thought about who they are yet. We've still got Lee, Leanne, Texas and Darren - so we've got a few students around. And I just want to put the record straight that Amy who played Charlotte wanted to go, because I think a lot of people were really angry with me for 'axing' Charlotte - which I didn't! She wanted to go off and write, so that's why she fell off an arch!"
Would you ever do a live episode of Hollyoaks?
"We are talking about something that is sort of live, but it probably wouldn't be until 2012 and it's very, very different from what anyone's done before. It's actually more ambitious. But it's so ambitious that I don't think I can fit it into 2011, as it needs so much planning. It would be a Hollyoaks Live that would involve the audience in a way that no-one else has done."
Does the aftermath of the Il Gnosh fire pave the way for new sets?
"Yes, Tony is about to open his new spa - which is very, very cool, trendy and smart. But he won't own it for long, because a certain millionairess comes back to the village, buys it off him and makes his life a misery! That is, of course, Cindy. So she'll be back as the rich bitch."
"Well, they have got the biggest story for the first half of 2011. I think it may be one of the biggest stories in Hollyoaks history. It's very, very serious and I think it will really divide the audience. It will really test them and their relationship to the nth degree, and we'll see whether they can recover from it. For the first half of 2011, it's the big story."
Can you tell us anything about Warren's future?
"I'm really excited about Warren's return. I know what's coming up - and the other really big story for 2011 is Warren versus Brendan. It's the battle of the titans and it goes in some very unexpected directions. One month Warren is up, and the next month Brendan is up! But then they end up having to work together. It's interesting, because we all love the character of Brendan, but I felt there was a danger that his stories would be all about sexuality - and the minute you bring Warren into the show, it becomes about something else. It actually becomes about masculinity. I don't want to give too much away, but at some point Warren will find out that Brendan is gay, and then it's about whether that makes Brendan less of a man than Warren is. Watch this space because it's going to be explosive."
"There's lots of stuff for Mitzeee in 2011 with Brendan and with Warren, so she'll be right at the heart of all that. We love her - she's one of those characters who, when I suggested her, people were looking at me like I was nuts! But I remember saying that we just needed to get the right actress, and boy, did we get the right actress! If anything, we didn't have enough Mitzeee in 2010 and I think she should be a face of Hollyoaks in 2011, because she's just spot on."
And what's coming up for Lee?
"What we want to do this year is to have Lee at the centre of this very serious story where Leanne is doing terrible things to Amy, but it's still funny. That's would be the ideal. We all know that Alex Carter is better than just having the daft stories in between, so we're really keen to push that this year. Lee is such a great, classic Hollyoaks character and I think we can get even more out of him."
Does that mean Amy will be staying with the show after all?
"It's not coming to an end - Theresa is involved in this quite sweet love triangle and just as she's about to get close to the new detective character Ethan, he finds out what she did. So it'll keep going for a bit longer."
Nancy is a popular character on our forum - will she have more to do anytime soon?
"Nancy has a massive story from the summer right the way through to the autumn. It might be Jess Fox's biggest story ever, which she's very excited about. I think she's great - when I first arrived, I think Nancy's main story was whether she was boring or not, but I felt there was more to do with her. I think we saw in the late-night episodes that if you give her anything to do, she can do it. She can do serious, she can do comedy and she's a very popular character. We'll see more of her."
"The reason they were quiet was because they were in Hollyoaks Later. They've both got loads coming up, and Riley in particular has got a really good story coming up that's got Warren written all over it!"
Some of the Hollyoaks Later characters like Logan and Sami had quite a positive reaction - would you bring any of them over to the main show?
"We don't have any plans at the moment. We thought that it worked for what it was, and we're a bit full! I think there's been an awful lot of new characters in Hollyoaks in the past year - we needed to just settle it down a bit."
That has been one main criticism from some quarters - too many characters introduced at once - what's your take on it?
"Well, the day when I get everything right, I'll give up! (Laughs) But I look back and I don't think we had much choice, and we're starting to see people's perceptions of the new characters change. Brendan and Mitzeee now feel like they've been in the show for a long time, and so do the Costellos. Bart also feels like he's been in the McQueens forever and he's got some really funny stuff coming up. I'm a soap viewer myself so I know what it's like - you think, 'Who are these people?' But I think we sat down and said that we needed a big shot in the arm, and that's what we've done. I know it's a big ask for the audience, and I'm now the person who's saying, 'We've got our cast - let's play them rather than carry on bringing in new people'."
It can be difficult to give fans an element of surprise on a soap, but you've pulled that off quite a few times lately - will we see more of that?
"Yeah, we've been having a good old think about our whole strategy when it comes to press and publicity, and what we give away and what we don't. We're in the middle of a big rethink about the way we tell our audience about the show."
You've embraced the old characters by bringing back Lee, Warren and Mandy - are any other returns on the cards?
"We've got one more person who we quite fancy bringing back, who would be a big character. It's just whether we think we've got the right story and if it's the right moment. So there'll possibly be another one."
Finally, is there anything else you'd like to tell us about Hollyoaks?
"I think we've covered most of it! I think 2011 is about being entertaining and there'll be lots of fun in there, but also big, strong driving stories. The transgender story drives all the way through the year, we've got this massive Rhys and Jacqui storyline, and the serial killer story. I know what the ending of the serial killer story will be, when it is, and I know how brilliant it is. I'm hoping that story will have the audience jumping up and down and shouting at the telly, because it's got a really big 'look behind you' element to it. In between that, we've got some really nice teen love. That's the Hollyoaks blend!"
Are you looking forward to Paul's plans for Hollyoaks? Let me know your thoughts using the usual form below!