Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace reacts to THAT shock Sally and John Paul twist: ‘It can’t stay secret forever’

From DigitalSpy – 14th March 2016

Hollyoaks has just aired one of its biggest revelations of the year on E4 as Sally St Claire’s secret was finally exposed.

When Myra McQueen paid a visit to Hollyoaks High to confront the school’s strict new headteacher, she was stunned to recognise Sally from her past life as Iain – Myra’s former lover and John Paul’s father.

Sally’s hidden connection to John Paul is the reason that she took up the job at the school in the first place, determined to find a way to be close to him. Fans can now expect a big battle of wills as Myra fights hard to prevent John Paul from ever discovering the truth.

Digital Spy recently caught up with Annie Wallace, who plays Sally, for some instant reaction to the shock storyline twist.

When did you first hear this big twist was coming up?

“I found out when I first started in the show, so that was six months ago now. It was one of the first things that they told me and I was really shocked. At first I was just really excited that I was going to be joining Hollyoaks and playing a teacher.

“But then we had a character conference with the writers and they just dropped it on me. My first reaction was: ‘I’m rubbish at keeping secrets!’ But this one has been a delight to keep.”

What kind of reaction are you expecting from the fans?

“I’m expecting the Hollyoaks superfans to say: ‘We spotted that!’ I’m expecting a lot of fans to say: ‘What? That’s mad, that’s crazy!’ But I’m expecting most people to say: ‘Wow, that’s amazing!’

“It’ll be mixed, but I think the vast majority of people won’t have seen this particular twist coming. I just hope they enjoy it and they go with it as we explore it more. This is just the reveal, but everything that comes after it will be even better.”

Were you impressed when some fans did manage to figure it out?

“I was, definitely! The fans analyse everything, don’t they? I think the big turning point was when John Paul’s photograph came out of Sally’s desk. I think it would have been a little bit more ambiguous if the photograph hadn’t been shown, but it got people talking about it.

“Since then I’ve been watching people discussing whether it could be true. Some people said it’d be too outlandish, so I’ve enjoyed watching everybody discuss where it’s going to go. There’s definitely some clever people out there.”

Can you tell us more about Sally’s intentions?

“Sally knows she’s not getting any younger. She’s 50 years old, she’s risen to the top of her profession and she’s very happy with that, but there’s also something missing in her life. She’s always known about John Paul because she found out about that quite early on, but she’s never felt that she’s been able to do anything about it until now.

“Certain circumstances came together where a job vacancy came up in the same village that Sally knew the McQueen family were living in. It was just the perfect thing for her, but how she’s handled it over the last six months isn’t as good as it could have been! She’s been keeping it a secret from John Paul because she’s too scared of how he’s going to react, but she’s still tried to be in his company all the time.”

How will Myra deal with this situation?

“Myra is horrified, but it’s not because of what it might do to John Paul – it’s because of what it might do to her. Myra is the one who lied to John Paul by saying that Ricky Bowen was his dad. So it’s more about Myra protecting herself from the lies that she’s told over the years.

“Tuesday’s E4 episode, which goes out on Wednesday on Channel 4, is an outstanding episode. It really explores Myra and Sally’s relationship and you find out so much more about Sally in that episode. So a lot of the story comes out this week and I think it’s brilliantly written. It was extremely emotional to film.”

You mentioned some fans thinking it’s too outlandish – have the writers looked into any similar real-life situations?

“Well it’s not an uncommon situation, it really isn’t. It’s slightly more uncommon for it to involve a headteacher and one of her employees, but that’s very soap! But certainly there are a lot of people that are trans parents and that isn’t unusual.

“There’s a lot of reality that has gone into the storyline. The group All About Trans were very hands-on with helping scriptwriters with all that type of detail to begin with. That contact with real situations has informed the writers with creating this quite believable scenario.

“Once all the detail comes out, people will stop thinking it’s outlandish and understand how it happened and why it happened. It does make sense in context of Sally’s life.”

Was James Sutton, who plays John Paul, involved in your audition process to make sure you had good chemistry?

“He was, but of course I had no idea about that! I just thought that James was the handiest actor to audition with. I knew that John Paul was a teacher and I’d be the headmistress, so it made sense that we’d have a scene together. I only had my character workshop once I got the part.

“I really couldn’t ask for two greater people than James and Nicole [Barber-Lane, who plays Myra] to work with. They’re such good actors and they’ve been with the show for a long time now. I feel they bring out the best in me too and I’ve done some of my best work with them. One interesting thing about the scenes coming up is that there are still strange little moments of what Myra and Sally used to be. You’ll see glimpses of the fact they used to be really good mates.”

Can you give us any final hints on what’s coming up next?

“I’m under no illusions that it’s all going to go a bit mad from this point onwards, because it makes me an honorary McQueen and that changes the relationship with Hollyoaks completely now. But that’s lovely, because it gives Sally roots there now.

“There’s also a lot of story to be told now the truth has come out. There’s a long way to go, because Myra is not going to sit back and let this happen. That starts this week, as she doesn’t want Sally anywhere near John Paul. But we’ll see – we know what soaps are like. A secret can’t stay a secret forever!”