Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace reveals the aftermath as Mrs St Claire is revealed as John Paul McQueen’s dad!

From Metro.co.uk – 14th March 2016

Whoa – did any of you Hollyoaks fans see that stunning twist coming?

Mrs St Claire – aka headteacher, Sally – definitely came to the village for a reason and it was to meet her son John Paul McQueen. John Paul has felt uncomfortable by Sally’s favourable treatment of him but put her behaviour down to to a crush or a form of hero worship given the close bond that they have formed.

However, the truth is that they are way closer than that – and Myra knows the score too as E4 viewers have just seen her recognise Sally as JP’s dad!

Before her operation, Sally knew Myra and they conceived John Paul together and now, as the audience are in on the secret, it’s time to look ahead to the dramatic and emotional aftermath.

Naturally, we needed some help to get our heads around the latest Oaks bombshell – cue a chat with the wonderful Annie Wallace, who talked us through her surprise at the developments for her character, the impact the following episodes will have and how she deals with any social media flack.

Here are the fruits of our conversation:

So how are things going Annie?

Very well now. My initial fear and nervousness has largely gone. I’m very comfortable now, I can’t believe it’s been six months already – it’s really flown by. I suppose it’s true what they say – time flies when you’re having fun; it’s an absolutely lovely place to work – great people, dream job – where’s the dark side on this, this is all good!?

What do you like most about the character?

She’s very three dimensional. She came in all guns blazing, determined to make her mark on the school by being strict – and she is – she takes no nonsense but there’s a difference: she really cares for them, she really wants them to do the best for themselves and to learn and not feel bullied or afraid.

She sees herself as an educator and protector which is a very endearing thing and she has a wicked sense of humour. She’s a lovely character to play and as time goes on, we’re seeing a lot more sides to her and a lot more of her past coming through. It’s a slow burn. She comes in and you gradually find out more and that’s lovely to play rather than be a cardboard character. Some people turn up in soaps and it’s immediately ‘oh that’s a gangster’ – she’s more than a teacher, she’s great, I love her.

What has feedback from Hollyoaks fans been like and do you take notice of it?

Oh yes, I very much do. The golden rule I was always told was never read the internet but I’ve been using the internet professionally for donkeys years so I know what to look at and what not to look at and also, I’m 50 years old – there’s literally nothing someone can say that would hurt  me. They can throw as many insults as they want, I just wouldn’t care, it’s all water off a duck’s back.

The only things that would hurt is ‘that Annie’s a really terrible actress’ and I’d be like ‘oh no!’ but if someone makes a comment about my appearance or about Sally or something it’s more: ‘well, you can have your opinion, I’m not really bothered’. The majority of it has been absolutely lovely and as time has gone on and I have become more recognisable out and about, people who come up have been just lovely – and the strange thing of having fan mail is just extraordinary.

Because of the age group that Hollyoaks attracts, most of them are young people and teenagers and it’s nice that teenagers are liking a 50-year-old teacher. It’s like ‘wow, that should be the opposite of the kind of character you’re going to naturally like’ but that doesn’t seem to be the case. There’s a lot of support on the internet, Twitter and Facebook from some really great people so it’s been really flattering indeed.

Let’s talk about THAT John Paul secret – how did you react when you found out and did you know about it from the outset?

It was one of the first things I was told when I joined – we had a conference meeting where they kind of dropped the bomb and told me ‘this is why Sally has come to Hollyoaks’ and I was just absolutely gobsmacked. It’s a totally original storyline for a British soap opera, it’s a wonderful thing, a complete first. Hollyoaks is trailblazing the way with it – what a delightful thing to happen. It’s been hard to keep the secret but I have also really wanted to as when it does break, there is going to be a lot of gossip and discussion.

Are you looking forward to the fan reaction?

Yeah, I really am. I’m having a load of friends round that night – well the next one, so we can watch the full hour. The cliffhanger on Channel 4 and then turn over to E4 because obviously the aftermath is the really big one. It’s really, really good – it’s unbelievably good. That has to be an absolutely high watermark. Every actor wants to see their episodes be popular so of course I am excited for the reaction.

When Patrick died – that whole week – we had a big audience peak and I know Anna Passey, Nikki Sanderson and Jeremy Sheffield were really pleased. It’s an obvious example of public response. When it goes out on E4, there’s a smaller audience and it’s very quickly on the internet and trickles through to hopefully get people watching.

And I hope people love it – it’s got a long way to go, yes there’s a revelation but there’s a big path ahead. It’s not rushed, it’s done in the right time. I’m working with great people – James Sutton and Nicole Barber are lovely – what a treat to work with them!

How might John Paul react when he discovers the truth?

That’s a really good question. He was the first person to find out about her past and he naturally supported her as he was persecuted and there’s also the LGBT solidarity. He also sees that she is a good teacher – certainly compared to Patrick who was vindictive at times – and she’s a breath of fresh air. He has supported her but we’ll have to see how this plays out.

He’s bound to find out in the not too distant future – putting myself in his place, it might not be the revelation it might be like ‘I’ve been working with you and you kept this from me?’ That might be the weirder thing than the actual revelation. He’s never known a dad – he thinks his dad was Ricky but he was never around – so he isn’t going to miss what he didn’t have.

But let’s see how it all pans out. I think it’s exciting. It’s very character led – it’s all family, history and character which is nice. Everything we’ve filmed is about people relating to each other rather than events – the nitty gritty of human beings. And there is so much more to come…