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Exclusive: 'Hollyoaks' Alice Barlow on Rae's exit, leaving soap and future plans: Interview

By
Alice Barlow

© PA Images / Ian West/PA Wire

Hollyoaks Later's fourth series ended in tragedy tonight as Rae Wilson became the latest victim of serial killer Silas Blissett in a dark storyline twist.

After hearing about Brendan's furious threat to kill the feisty blonde, cunning Silas spotted an opportunity to get the village bad boy off his back - knowing that Brendan would be the prime suspect if anything happened to Rae. When Rae confided in Silas over her new casual attitude towards flings, her fate was sealed in shocking scenes.

In real life, meanwhile, actress Alice Barlow decided to bow out as Rae earlier this year - prompting show bosses to line up a memorable and explosive departure for her character.

Prior to tonight's game-changing episode going to air, Alice caught up with Digital Spy for an exclusive interview about Rae's exit and her future career plans.

Why did you decide to leave Hollyoaks?
"I felt like I'd taken Rae as far as I could - we've seen so much from her and it felt like the right time to say goodbye to the character. I thought I'd given as much as I could to her, so I decided to leave and I've known the storyline details for how Rae would be written out since March or April this year."

As Rae's fate was kept under wraps, has it been difficult to keep the secret and not say anything on Twitter?
"Yes, it has been difficult! There's been some speculation online that this could happen, so I've had to come out and deny it - because I wanted it to be a massive surprise. I think it's always great when something surprises and shocks people, like when Sarah Barnes died in the parachute jump. Nobody expected that would happen to Sarah, and I think that's why it won awards and why it came across so well on television. I hope people were surprised tonight."

Did you find it emotional when you filmed Rae's death scene?
"Yes, it was very emotional, because when you've played a character for two years, you really get to know them inside and out - and Rae has been through so much. It's come to an end now with this Silas twist, but because she's been murdered, it does make it very emotional!"

You must be thrilled that she's gone out with such a bang, though…
"I could not be happier right now - I'm really grateful to Hollyoaks for giving me the chance to go out with such a bang. I could have just ended up leaving in a taxi or something like that, but this will hopefully go down in Hollyoaks history. There's no limits when it comes to the late-night episodes, so we've been lucky that we could play this storyline in Later and do whatever we wanted with it."

Silas
What was Jeff Rawle like to work with on the storyline?
"Oh my God, he was amazing. My death scene was absolutely incredible and I loved working with Jeff. To work with Jeff was actually a dream come true, because he's such an accredited actor."

How hard was it to say goodbye to your castmates when you finished filming?
"It was horrible! I had a party to say goodbye to everyone, and it was very emotional. I don't really like goodbyes and I don't like the whole fuss of it, so I was just saying to everyone that I'd 'see them later'! Everyone has been so lovely at Hollyoaks and I wouldn't change it for the world."

Have you moved away from Liverpool now?
"I'm actually still living in Liverpool, but I'm moving down to London very soon. At the moment, I'm staying here, just until I get another secure job down in London. Until then, I'm just going to keep commuting up and down."

3009: Rae and Ste
Who from the cast are you going to particularly miss?
"Work-wise, Emmett and Kieron have been my rock - my absolute rock. I'll miss working with them so much and they've taught me so much. I've learned so much from Emmett, and the same with Kieron. I'm also great friends with PJ, Bianca, Jess, Anna Shaffer and James Atherton. I'll miss Craig Vye too, and I'll miss Jorgie loads! But I don't want to miss anyone out - they're all really lovely!"

Which character do you think will be most affected by Rae's death?
"Definitely Ste. They've been through so much, and it was a real turning point for Ste when Rae was pregnant and she found out about him and Brendan being together. Ste was so affected by everything that happened then, so I think he's going to be the most upset because he's been by her side throughout all the pregnancy and miscarriage stuff."

3011: Brendan and Rae
As we saw Brendan threaten Rae, is there a chance that he's going to get the blame for this?
"Maybe! We'll have to wait and see what happens with that, but Brendan was so threatening towards Rae and she was really frightened for her life afterwards. I think people are going to think that Brendan is to blame."

Could Ste blame Brendan too?
"Most probably! After all the ups and downs, Ste knows exactly what the relationship between Rae and Brendan has been like and all the problems they've had. I'm so lucky to have had the role of Rae, as I've loved the scenes where she's been able to have control over Brendan. She always felt like she had the upper hand because she knew he was gay - until Brendan pushed to the point where he was threatening her."

The three of you also won the All About Soap award for 'Best Love Triangle' earlier in the year!
"I know, I'm absolutely so grateful that we won that award. It's great that I won an award before I left Hollyoaks! And hopefully the storyline will continue and Rae's death will cause some conflict between Ste and Brendan. I don't really know where things are heading after this, but I think that Rae's death will definitely make a mark on Ste and Brendan."

On a lighter note, did you enjoy being part of the recent storyline with Ethan and his three-timing?
"I absolutely loved that, because I love Jorgie to bits so it was great to work with her. I get on well with Craig and Abi too, so it was such a fun storyline to work on. I wasn't expecting the twist that Rae was involved, and the response I got on Twitter was absolutely incredible - I had so many messages from people saying, 'Oh my God, I can't believe it's you - you're the third girl!' I'm really glad that fans of the show enjoyed it."

Alice Barlow filming the Hollyoaks title sequence
Are there any other highlights that you can name from your time at Hollyoaks?
"I have had such an amazing time. The parties, the people and the photoshoots have all been fantastic - I've absolutely had the time of my life. I was 17 when I came into the show and now I'm 20, and it's been the perfect end to my teenage years. I couldn't have asked for anything better."

Are you looking forward to getting back to the auditioning process for new roles?
"It sounds really strange, but I actually cannot wait! I love the thrill of going to auditions and trying to impress the casting directors, and it's great to just take on a new character and explore them. That's a great opportunity for an actor, and that's also why I didn't want to stay too long in one job - because I wanted to learn new things."

What would be a dream role for you?
"I really don't mind, but at the moment I'm looking for some West End and singing stuff. But I wouldn't mind any acting role - anything that challenges me would be great. When I've got something to sink my teeth into, it really helps me focus. It'd be absolutely amazing to play a character with mental problems or something really challenging like that."

You mentioned the West End, but would you ever like to do straight singing - maybe a pop career?
"That is my dream - to be a pop singer. I know it's very clichéd and lots of people want to do it, but I would absolutely love it. Hopefully if I meet the right people my dream might come true, but I'm pushing my way forward. I did a duet with Ed Sheeran recently, so you just never know - you've just got to be in the right place at the right time."

How would you like Rae to be remembered by Hollyoaks fans?
"I'd love her to be remembered as a strong-willed person. She always got her opinion across, no matter what! The thing about Rae is that she went through a transitional period during her time on the show, and while she was still strong, we have seen a weaker side due to some of the knocks that she's had. But she stayed strong and everyone knew that you don't mess with Rae!"

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