‘Toxic and intense’ character introduced to Hollyoaks cast in conversion therapy storyline

The series is continuing its important conversion therapy storyline. (Lime Pictures)

Hollyoaks is preparing to introduce a new villain as part of its upcoming conversion therapy storyline. 

The Channel 4 soap’s long-running storyline exploring the dangers of conversion therapy follows Hollyoaks High interim headteacher Carter, played by David Ames, as he implements his sinister scheme to “convert” Lucas Hay, played by Oscar Curtis, under the guise of a so-called self-help support group.

The upcoming arc deals with the abhorrent practice, which wrongly aims to bring someone’s sexual or gender identity with mainstream “normativity”. 

Actor Alan Turkington, best known for his roles in Heartstopper, Mr Selfridge, and Holby City, will be taking on the “toxic and intense” role of Declan Hawthorne. He’ll be appearing on our screens later this month as the character. 

Declan will be taking the side of his friend Carter, where the pair manipulate Lucas into revealing his feelings for Dillon Ray (Nathaniel Dass), before manipulating him to suppress his sexuality in sinister scenes.

Dillion’s arrival to the village last year changed Lucas’ life, providing him with kindness and support during a difficult year. His arrival also caused Lucas to discover his sexuality. 

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The pair became bonded as a result of Lucas’ trials and tribulations, with the character navigating his new-found feelings towards Dillon. 

“I think Lucas is going to get surrounded by negative emotions, feelings, actions and thoughts,’ Oscar Curtis told Metro.

“Everything around Lucas is negative – apart from Dillon – but Lucas is being told [by] Carter that Dillon has to go, that he can’t be with him. 

“Dillon is something that’s ‘bad’ for him, so I think Lucas will take a step back from Dillon. It’s like villainising the person you love because there’s so much passion there.”

The ongoing conversion storyline was inspired by the real-life experience of Hollyoaks: IRL star Justin Beck and began in September. 

John Paul previously discovered Carter’s malicious intentions, juxtaposed with several LGBTQ+ characters across the cast coming together to celebrate their identity.

The banning of conversion therapy is currently a contentious topic in the UK, with the Conservative government repeatedly delaying plans to implement an outright ban after it was first promised by Theresa May’s administration five years ago.

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