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Soaps Interview

'Hollyoaks' Q&A: Myra on the McQueens and more

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Nicole Barber-Lane filming the Hollyoaks title sequence

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks favourite Myra McQueen has been brought back to the forefront of the soap in recent months, dealing with a fresh batch of family dramas and the arrival of the mischievous Savage clan. Mixed in with the comedy of Myra's clashes with Dodger and attraction to Dirk, the devoted mum has also had more serious situations to deal with due to Jacqui's rape storyline and Mercedes's fake pregnancy. Digital Spy recently caught up with Nicole Barber-Lane, who plays Myra, for a chat on set at the Hollyoaks Music Show.

Myra seems to be featuring on screen a lot more lately, doesn't she?
"She is and I'm so excited - I think it's the most that I've ever worked since I've been here. It's all fun stuff with bits of comedy and I'm loving it. It's been a bit different from the stuff we were doing when I first started, but it's been so much fun - all the stuff with Lamb Chop and going off to Jacqui's wedding. It was so funny filming the scene when I was driving off with Nick Pickard, who plays Tony, because we actually nearly did crash! Nick is such a clumsy thing so as I was driving off, he hadn't put his feet on the moped so his legs were flopping everywhere, he was leaning on me and we were heading towards the fountain! You couldn't see it all on screen, but we nearly crashed into it!"

3060: Myra and Dirk
Does the increased screen time for Myra mean that the new boss Gareth is a particular fan of the character?
"I'm not sure - I'd like to think so! I think, in general, the McQueens have had a re-injection of life. Things were quite different but now we're getting back to the comedy that will make you laugh on a Sunday. Myra's such a funny character and you can do so many different things with her - it's brilliant. She can be quite serious, she can be selfish, she can be loving and giving, she can be ridiculously stupid and she can be amazingly clever - all at the same time! What a woman!"

Are you enjoying working with the Savage clan?
"Yeah, they're all lovely and I really enjoyed working with Dave Kennedy who plays Dirk - I hope we get more stuff together because that would be fun. We need more interaction between them all!"

Bart, played by Jonny Clarke, also seems to have settled into the family well…
"Oh, Jonny is so sweet - I like him and he's a good guy. I'd like to do some more stuff with him as well. Myra loves giving him a clout or a clip round the ear! It's lovely to have a fella to abuse! (Laughs)"

Myra, Jacqui and Bart
Were you surprised last year when Myra believed Bart rather than Jacqui over the stolen cash?
"I think it was an interesting one, and it was all about what your parents believe. Myra didn't want to believe that Bart had done anything wrong, and I think she'd also had enough of Jacqui muscling in. But obviously Myra can't forgive herself, going right back to choosing Jacqui and Carmel to die in the Niall situation. From that, the dynamics of the family changed a lot and Jacqui wasn't as responsive to Myra as she used to be. Slowly, Jacqui became a lot stronger than Myra, because Myra is constantly riddled with guilt. Even though she doesn't show it, it's still there underneath and so she's been letting them get away with a lot more things than they usually would!

"When Myra stopped believing Jacqui, I think it was also partly because Jacqui had hid all the stuff about Theresa killing Calvin and it was Myra's way of saying, 'Listen - this is my house, my rules'. Maybe she was wrong, but Bart's 15 so she felt that she couldn't kick him out as he had nowhere else to go, and she just thought that Jacqui should behave herself!"

Are you hoping for any romance on the horizon for Myra?
"I'd love a romance - with whoever! It doesn't matter for Myra, as long as she gets some!"

Have you met Carmel's new love interest Father Francis yet?
"Yes, he's very nice! I wouldn't mind tucking him up! (Laughs) I believe he's a dancer, so I'd like to have a dance-off with him when I'm a bit fitter. But can he dance with Myra?!"

3017: Myra and Jacqui
What did you think of Jacqui and Gilly's recent rape storyline?
"It was difficult as it's such a sensitive subject and it does make you think, 'How do you react?' Even when she had Jacqui explaining what had happened, at first there was a part of Myra that thought, 'You'd never let that happen - how have you let that happen? Have you just changed your mind afterwards?' It's such a grey area, so it was nice to be part of it and understand what people are going through. Claire Cooper and Andy Moss are doing a cracking job at the moment with the aftermath of what happened. I think the most interesting part of the storyline is that, from both of their perspectives, Jacqui and Gilly both think they're telling the truth - and that is so important. Unfortunately, I think that is the truth in many situations - that the guy just doesn't read what's going on properly, and the girl just freezes and can't communicate her feelings. I think it was a really good thing for Hollyoaks to shine a light on."

Mercedes is pretending to be pregnant at the moment, which Myra knows about. Will Myra continue playing a role in that storyline?
"Yeah, it's really exciting. At the moment, Myra thinks that Mercedes shouldn't tell the truth, as she's really landed on her feet with Riley and shouldn't mess it up. Also, with Warren whispering in Myra's ear, she thinks that Riley will look after all of the McQueens as well and take the family out of the poverty that they've been in. Myra is getting carried away with her excited enthusiasm over what life could be like. But what's important for her daughters is what's the most important thing for Myra in the end. Sometimes she may forget that for a moment, but she's always there for her kids."

Finally, a few people on our forum have been eager to see Myra form a friendship with Diane! Would you like to see that happen?
"Oh my God, yes! It would be really great because they're completely different characters. That would be brilliant. We don't get to do that much stuff at the moment, but there's a scene coming up where Diane comes round to the McQueens and says, 'Look - I've found Bart in Sinead's bedroom! What are you going to do about it?' But Myra just says, 'Oh, I'll have a word and make sure he uses protection!' Also, Jacqui's there and jumping on the bandwagon protecting Bart. Everyone ends up arguing about it and we had a ball filming that scene."

> Read our Hollyoaks news and spoilers

The Hollyoaks Music Show returns for a new series on Saturday at 9.20am on Channel 4. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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