EastEnders star Riley Carter Millington attends Rainbow List Party with Hollyoaks’ Annie Wallace

From DigitalSpy – 17 November 2015

Soap newcomers Riley Carter Millington and Annie Wallace celebrated their success at the Rainbow List party last night (November 16).

The Independent’s Rainbow List celebrates the 101 most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Britain.

Millington was cast in EastEnders earlier this year and has now become the first trans man to top the list, while Hollyoaks’ first trans actress Wallace was recognised as well.

EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins also featured on this year’s list for the first time, due to casting the first trans male actor (Millington) in a leading trans role.

Taking to Twitter, Millington and Wallace posted pictures of the celebrations, including one with Boy Meets Girl’s Rebecca Root, who also made the list.

Hollyoaks viewers may remember that Root appeared in the show a few months back in a guest role.

Hollyoaks newcomer Annie Wallace: ‘Sally’s storyline will have big surprises next year’

From Digitalspy – 11th November 2015

Hollyoaks newcomer Annie Wallace has promised that there are big surprises in store as viewers learn more about her formidable character Sally St Claire.

Sally joined the village last month as she took over from ruthless Patrick Blake at Hollyoaks High.

The no-nonsense headteacher is the first ever transgender character onHollyoaks to be played by a trans actress. Her casting was revealed just hours after EastEnders announced the arrival of trans actor Riley Carter Millington as newcomer Kyle.

Hollyoaks bosses have now teased that Sally has a big ulterior motive for coming to the village, so it surely won’t be too long before she features in a major storyline.

Speaking about Sally’s future in an interview with radio show All Out, Wallace explained: “Like most soaps, you get a six-month contract and they extend it as and when. But I’m in for quite a bit next year. We do have a few big surprises hopefully next year – so you’ll just have to watch!

Hollyoaks originally wanted to just bring me in as a teacher and let people go,’Is she trans or isn’t she?’, because I look a certain way and it’s fine.

“But what happened was that EastEnders put out their big press release about Riley Millington. It was the week before my press release was about to be released, so our press office went, ‘We better make sure people know about Annie as well’. We announced it within 24 hours of each other.

“At the moment in Hollyoaks, I’m just the strict new headmistress – but things will unfold, as things unfold in the world of continuing drama.”

Wallace also revealed that Blessing Chambers’s storyline in 2014 paved the way for the arrival of Sally, sparking a long workshop and audition process.

Speaking about Blessing’s journey, Wallace said: “She came in as a very bubbly character and a few months later it was revealed that she was a young trans woman. She was played by an actress, Modupe Adeyeye, who did it very well – but there was kind of a collective sigh from the trans community going, ‘Again? Couldn’t you have tried to get a trans actress?’

“It’s largely a case that they don’t know any trans actresses, so Hollyoaks got involved with a group called All About Trans. A series of workshops were created where they got about 30 people together in Liverpool. They weren’t just looking for one person – they were looking for an acting pool to see who’s out there.”

Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.

Sally St Claire is the new headmistress of Hollyoaks High!

Well, she’s arrived!

The forthright and determined Mrs St Claire has arrived in Hollyoaks village, and, in quick succession, assessed incumbent head teacher Patrick Blake, found him to be unstable, and promptly replaced him!

Unlike Patrick, Sally is not a bully who thrives on control, and her no-nonsense attitude stems from a desire to help young people achieve the future they deserve.

She’s married to the job and keeps herself isolated to maintain professionalism, but is surprisingly clued up on pop culture telling off stunned students by making references they understand – “tuck your shirt in! You are not Kanye West!”

Driven by career, Mrs St Claire has accepted a position at Hollyoaks High to, in her own words, “seek out the bad apples and make crumble of them”.

Make no mistake, there’s nothing going on in class that Mrs St Claire doesn’t know about.

But she’s also come to the village with an ulterior motive.

Visit the Hollyoaks website, or catch up on episodes on All4 – www.channel4.com/programmes/hollyoaks


Annie is joining Hollyoaks!

So…. the big secret is out… reported first by trans journalist and activist Paris Lees in the Guardian on the 9th of October.

Annie is joining Hollyoaks soon!

Sally St. Claire makes her debut on 29th October 2015 as current headmaster and Motor Neurone Disease sufferer Patrick Blake‘s future replacement. However, Patrick soon locks horns with this feisty new presence in Hollyoaks High, and it’s not long before his job is on the line…..


Paris Lees’ Guardian feature

DigitalSpy’s feature

Huffington Post’s feature

Pink News’ feature

Gay Times’ feature

Metro feature

DigitalSpy’s episode details

Annie Wallace


Real-life Hayley Cropper speaks publicly for the first time at Pride Superbia event

From the Manchester Evening News – 26 August 2015

The woman that inspired Coronation Street’s Hayley Cropper has spoken publicly about being transgender for the first time.

Annie Wallace was brought in to the show as a research assistant to Julie Hesmondhalgh – who played Hayley for 16 years – until she left the soap in January 2014. It was Hayley’s on screen death last year that was the catalyst for Wallace’s own coming out as transgender.

Wallace, who was working in computer repairs at the time, was approached by producers of the ITV show after she wrote to Radio Times and to Hesmondhalgh as a fan of Hayley, to help with the authenticity of the character.

The 50-year-old from Aberdeen, who joined the show in April 1998, was speaking on a panel at a Manchester Pride’s Superbia event – Transcript – which also included scriptwriter Damon Rochefort, Bruno Langley and Cucumber actress Bethany Black.

Wallace, who reflected that Hayley was ‘like a sister to her’, said: “It is still difficult for me to speak about it and at first trans activists were against Hayley.

“I spent two and a half hours with researchers having all of my hopes and dreams and fears put on cassette tapes.

“It was transcribed and given to all the writers at the time as their bible. I started looking at draft scripts. I wasn’t telling Julie how to play a character, this was just about detail and putting full-stops and crossing ts.”

Hesmondhalgh says Wallace was ‘absolutely essential’ for her portrayal of Hayley, especially with the huge secrecy surrounding the first introduction of a transgender character on the Cobbles.

The Accrington-born actress said: “When I was researching Hayley I couldn’t ask anyone in the transgender community because it was so top secret.

“I was able to do a bit of reading but this was 1997.

“Annie helped me to believe that I was on the right track, even if I wasn’t representing every trans person in the country, I was representing her.

“What she did with the writers and the researching was absolutely vital. So much of Hayley was based on Annie – they share the same birthday and has so many of Annie’s characteristics – like her love of rock music. I owe Annie so much.”

Hesmondhalgh also revealed that Hayley was originally only supposed to be a comedy character, alongside Roy, but it was the popularity of the couple with the public, that took everyone, including the soap’s writers, by surprise.

Reflecting on the couple, the 45-year-old said: “Corrie had a transgender character before it had a gay one.

“We played it for real and not for laughs. The most amazing thing happened when the public got behind it.

“There was a quick re-write and it turned into a real love story.

“What happened was telly magic and there was real chemistry between Hayley and Roy and me and David (Neilson) always got on so well.

“That was the beginning of social and political change, when a little woman in Accrington ASDA says “Nevermind that” to me when I’d said Hayley and Roy couldn’t get married because of the law. Hayley did that, she helped people change their prejudices. ”

Hesmondhalgh and Wallace are planning to write a two-woman show together about what Hayley has meant to both of us, which they hope to run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

And Wallace, who is now an actress in her own right, has a big TV project in the pipeline.

Hesmondhalgh added: “We’ve spoken a lot about working together and how Hayley has changed both of our lives.

Annie has come from this shy computer fitter in Scotland to moving to Manchester and followed her dreams and now she’s just landed herself a massive role in something I can’t talk too much about but watch this space.

“I think this is a perfect end to the story. If I’ve passed Annie the baton, she’s run off into the distance with it and I fear this could end up as a solo show!”

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