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Soaps Interview

Peter Lloyd (Series Producer, 'Doctors')

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Series Producer of Doctors, Peter Lloyd

© BBC

Digital Spy's Producer Season continues with an exclusive interview with Doctors' long-standing series producer Peter Lloyd. The BBC daytime soap scooped two trophies at this year's British Soap Awards - Ami Metcalf (Sapphire Cox) as 'Best Dramatic Performance For A Young Actor Or Actress' and Jan Pearson and Chris Walker (Karen and Rob Hollins) for 'Best On-Screen Partnership'. Here, Peter teases about what's to come over the next few months in the fictional Birmingham suburb of Letherbridge and reveals which series regular is to bow out in the summer.

You must be delighted with your success at the British Soap Awards...
"We're thrilled for Amy, Jan and Chris in a contest that seemed to belong wholly to EastEnders this year! Amy made an extraordinary start to her career playing Sapphire, the methadone addicted teenage nightmare and we couldn't be more proud of what she achieved. And for Jan and Chris to win best partnership against such strong competition only shows how formidable they are as a team. The Hollins family has been really embraced by the viewers and though they're very modest and always thank the writers, it's really their talent inspiring everyone else!"

Will Dr Lily Hassan ever be returning? Was her exit always planned?
"You never know! We did feel that we'd reached the end of Lily's story with Sapphire and wanted to give the character a positive 'out'. But I thought Lily was a successful character who provided a great contrast to the others in the gang."

How do you feel about bringing Christopher Timothy's Dr Brendan McGuire back, even if it's only for one episode?
"I don't know why we'd do that unless there was a very good reason. The show has moved on a great deal since Chris was with us so I don't think anyone would want the character back just out of nostalgia. But if it's motivated, if it has an impact on our characters and makes sense dramatically, then never say never. Actually, we are bringing back another face from the past later in the year which will make a lot of people happy, but I'm going keep you guessing on that one!"

If Julia can forgive and forget with regard to everyone else, why can't she do so for Daniel? Will we ever see Julia's attitude towards Daniel change? Does Julia secretly fancy Daniel?
"It's interesting, isn't it? I love the dynamic between these two - I have my own theories, so do Di and Matt but we've yet to answer the question, maybe we will, maybe we won't. Something is going to happen between them in September which might shed some light on this."

Are there any new arrivals or departures you can tell us about?
"We will be saying goodbye to Michelle in the summer. Donnaleigh has been with us for just over four years now and feels it's time to spread her wings and try something new in her career, which is understandable since she's been here virtually from drama school. She's got a great exit story which I'm very excited about which I think will be very popular with viewers. We'll also be getting a new female doctor called Elaine who will have a new take on the surgery and will be very interesting to have around."

What does the future hold for Michelle?
"A huge challenge that's going to test her physically and mentally. It's heart-breaking and heart-warming and a radical life change for her, I can't wait for the viewers to see what happens in the summer because I'm really excited about what we're doing with her."

The tenth birthday celebration of Doctors was very short and not as good as fans expected - why didn't you push the boat out?
"Money, in a word. As everyone knows, all our budget goes into the programmes, we just don't have the resources to do something huge. Daytime were great in making the mini documentaries, but I understand people wanting more."

Is Seán Gleeson still going to direct for Doctors in the future?
"I'm sure we will see him again, we enjoyed what he did with his last episodes, so keep an eye on the listings in the future…"

What have you planned for the Hollinses as a family?
"Karen's going to be changing career, kind of, and so is Rob, later in the year. Jack and Imogen both have a little growing up to do, and Michelle's story is going to have quite an impact on them. Plus, it's time Imogen had a proper boyfriend and Jack buckled down and did some proper work! This family have been so successful, you can pretty much throw anything at them, including their recent Soap Award! Towards the end of the year, I'm throwing them a really doozy..."

Can viewers expect a 'happily ever after' for Daniel and Zara?
"Well, that would be far too easy, wouldn't it? They're just too alike, too contrary, it's always going to be a rocky road for them, but that's what makes it so much fun with these two. They do try to be in a 'normal relationship' and the results are hilarious, they even go on a conventional date – bowling! But things are slowly going to even out for Daniel as he gets to see his daughter regularly and he feels a bit more stable in life. Inevitably that's all going to come crashing down later, but stay posted for that one..."

Is Charlie hiding any dark secrets? If so, can you give us any clues?
"Oh yes. Just when you think you know Charlie, something else crops up. Our writers have loved writing for him, because he's one of those characters who'll happily say that wrong thing and be completely unapologetic about it. But of course he has a sinister side and that's going to come out more and more – his treatment of the female members of the team is an indication, so is his increasing homophobia towards Simon. How dark can he get? Very! Keep watching!"

Any update on a BBC Three repeat slot or a weekend omnibus?
"No is the short answer! There aren't any plans for either, but do remember that Doctors is repeated every day on the BBC HD Channel at 6.30pm and of course you can always catch up with us on BBC iPlayer."

And also on the cards...
§ Julia starts to crumble, but what could be causing it? Is she just getting too old?
§ Life starts to take a turn for the better for Jimmi - about time, say viewers!
§ What happens when Daniel finds out about Zara’s early menopause?
§ Heston starts behaving controversially - and gets us all in trouble.
§ We really need to keep an eye on Simon...
§ ... and Ruth faces her biggest challenge so far. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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