Mandip Gill talks about the loss of her much-loved cousin


Mandip Gill (Phoebe McQueen)

I’m not usually one to start on a negative note, but this month my family and I lost Alicia, our extremely brave and selfless cousin, to cancer. After an 18-month battle, our very own angel of the north was taken from us.

In the run-up to our loss, my family and I climbed Snowdon, in Wales, in a bid to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust; a trust that provided Alicia and her family with much needed equipment during her hospital stay. The climb was both physically and emotionally hard as none of us took to exercise beforehand. However, we eventually managed it and I would like to thank all those that helped us raise five thousand pounds.


Later this month, along with some of my fellow Hollyoaks castmates, my family and I will be taking part in the Color Run; a five kilometre run where coloured powder covers the participants. It’s so exciting that the American running phenomenon is coming to the UK for the very first time. To help publicise this event, the Hollyoaks cast took part in the coolest photo shoot. We all wore white, and I posed for pictures while having coloured powder thrown at me and pretending like it didn’t blur my vision one bit.

This year, Color Run has teamed up with Stand Up To Cancer and will see thousands including myself, partake in a 5km run, or… uhem… walk in my case. Similarly to the photo shoot (practise test for my lack of vision) we will start the race in white clothes only to be splashed with coloured powder at every kilometre. Sounds like fun right? The Color Run celebrates happiness, healthiness and individuality which will happen on 21 July in Manchester. Teaming up with Stand Up To Cancer means my family and I can all enjoy the day, celebrate our cousins life (as she would want) and help raise money for charities that are close to our hearts. If you would like to donate money to help other young suffers in times of need, please take a look at Alicia’s Memorial Fund at

Moving on to something a little lighter… the sticky love triangle in Hollyoaks between Phoebe, George and Vincent. What is going on? Not long after making a celibacy pact, Phoebe and George have betrayed one another by falling for the same guy. Umm… Hello but there are enough hunky men in Hollyoaks to have your own! Unbeknown to Phoebe, Vincent is actually gay and left Nigeria for a life where his sexuality is not frowned upon. In recent months, Nigeria’s House of Representatives passed a bill to criminalise same sex marriages. If the bill is to be passed, it carries penalties of up to 14 years in prison. I’m extremely grateful for this current storyline; not only is it tackling issues surrounding relationships and friendships, but it is an issue that’s so relevant to today’s society. This week we have filmed scenes with tears, laughter and the odd bit of bitching. I hope the audience enjoy watching the storyline pan out just as much as we enjoyed exploring this topic ourselves. I am also excited to hear what the audience thought of Vincent’s sexuality revelation.

Talking about sticky, it looks like summer is finally here but ‘for how long?’ I hear you say. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of the sun; I get hot and bothered, it makes me eat heaps of ice-cream and not to mention those terribly unflattering tan lines. I’m more of a factor-50-and-full-sleeves kind of girl. That said, I have enjoyed a spot of shade in a beer garden with my work pals this week and that’s where I am about to go now. Factor 50, full sleeves and shades at the ready. Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy the rest of the sun. Love from me to you.
In loving memory of Alicia Boparai. As the saying goes, “If love alone could save you, you never would have died.”

Joe Tracini talks about returning to the show


Joe Tracini (Dennis Savage)

Hello HELLO! See what I did there? Yep, brilliant. I’m Joe Tracini, and I play Dennis on Hollyoaks. I’ve had a break from the show for six months, and now I’m back!! Excellent stuff.

It’s all kicked off while I’ve been away, and Dennis barely has time to put his bag down and go to the loo before he finds out that the love of his life, Leanne, has been charged with murdering her best friend. He doesn’t waste much time in setting out to prove her innocence and get her out into the big wide world again. Bless him – and they say romance is dead. I’ve never actually heard anyone say that by the way, I’ve only ever heard people say that other people have said it.

Me with Danny Mac

Me with Danny Mac


It’s all changed up here while I’ve been gone, that Irish lot, you know, the one with the Tash, The Brady Bunch or something, well, they’ve probably gone back to Ireland, so there’s nobody to knock off people anymore. It’s alright though, because my onscreen cousin Will seems to have taken up the mantle. Interesting acting fact, I know Will’s a killer, but my character doesn’t, which makes for a tough day at the office for me.

We also have the Roscoe family here, who are a lovely bunch. What’s good about them is that they’re all so overly attractive, and we don’t have enough of that round here!

Me with co-star Charlie Wernham

Me with co-star Charlie Wernham

I’m one of those lucky people that gets to do a job that I love everyday. Lime Pictures in Liverpool, where we film the show, is a lovely place to do it. One of those places where you actually want to stop and say hi to everybody in the morning. I say everybody, there’s a couple that don’t like me – they’re probably just jealous of my height. 5’4, thanks for asking.

I’ve attached some quirky little photos with this post, there’s one of me and Danny Mac, he’s the sexiest man in soap. I like to hang around with Danny because the direct comparison between my face and his makes him look even better. I’m nice like that.

Also one of me, Emmett J Scanlan and Fabrizio Santino at the Soap Awards. Good Times.

Me with Fabrizio Santino and Emmett Scanlan

Me with Fabrizio Santino and Emmett Scanlan

I have a habit of putting my face on stuff, and there’s a picture of me putting my face on Charlie Wernham.

It’s just become very clear to me that I work in a building filled with some of the most attractive women in the world, and neglected to have my picture taken with any of them. I’m an idiot. On that note, there’s one of me and Joe Thompson.

Me with my co-star Joseph Thompson

Me with my co-star Joseph Thompson

I/Dennis (same guy) am/is back on Hollyoaks on Friday 21st June, Channel 4 at 6.30pm. Do give it a watch. I’d like that, and the more people that watch, the prouder my nan is of me.

Hugs etc,

Joe x

My week before lift off


Ayden Callaghan (Joe Roscoe)

Ayden Callaghan plays newcomer Joe Roscoe on Hollyoaks, the eldest of the Roscoe boys whose family has just moved in to the village. In his first post for the show’s blog, Ayden chats about his busy week filming scenes, celebrating at The Soap Awards and the Roscoe family’s screen debut.

Well, the week before the airing of the Roscoes’ first Hollyoaks episode was a busy and interesting one. The week involved being ‘released’, attending The Soap Awards which was a huge success for us, our first meeting as a group with the media, our first TV interview together and of course the airing of our first episode. Not to mention filming lots of scenes, visits to the gym, buying a suit and learning lines. Sounds like a lot of stuff to fit in but it all just happens and it’s all such a pleasure the days just whizz by.


So where to start, somewhere near the beginning I guess. It’s funny really because all this makes it feel new again but we have been hard at work filming since mid-March and we were up and down doing developmental work in January and February, so by the time we hit the screens we had been working together in some capacity for five months or so, so we felt well and truly bedded in. We all get on superbly and spend most of our days laughing a lot. The atmosphere is always absolutely buzzing at work; it hardly feels like work to be fair.
photo (8)photo10

The week leading up was like any other we were busy at work, I of course left getting a suit to the last minute and talked Fabrizio (Ziggy) into coming out shopping with me and he helped picked a lovely suit and find the right fit for me, the salesman really should have split his commission with Fab. I had to make a quick dash to my Mum’s house, where a lot of my stuff still is in storage after my move from London, to pick up my shoes. Before I knew it the Soap Awards were upon us, Charlie Wernham (Robbie) and I live together and the night before I sat him down and introduced him to Shane Meadows’ Brilliant Dead Mans Shoes, over a couple of drinks and snacks. The next morning we both had an appointment for teeth whitening. Swift check in to the hotel, swim, change and we were in the bar where I bumped into some old Emmerdale friends Mark Charnock and James Hooten, two lovely, funny and really warm people, I was really pleased to see them and they were really happy to see me back on the circuit.

photo (7)

The week leading up was like any other we were busy at work. I of course left getting a suit to the last minute and talked Fabrizio (Ziggy) into coming out shopping with me and he helped pick a lovely suit and find the right fit for me. The salesman really should have split his commission with Fab. I had to make a quick dash to my Mum’s house, where a lot of my stuff still is in storage after my move from London, to pick up my shoes. Before I knew it The Soap Awards were upon us, Charlie Wernham (Robbie) and I live together and the night before I sat him down and introduced him to Shane Meadows’s brilliant Dead Man’s Shoes, over a couple of drinks and snacks. The next morning we both had an appointment for teeth whitening. Swift check in to the hotel, swim, change and we were in the bar where I bumped into some old Emmerdale friends, Mark Charnock and James Hooten, two lovely, funny and really warm people. I was really pleased to see them and they were really happy to see me back on the circuit.
photo (6)photo-(5)

Having previously been to The Soap Awards with Emmerdale I knew what to expect and it was a lovely evening. Hollyoaks did incredibly well and it is really exciting to be part of the show as it heads strongly in the right direction and hopefully we can play our part in continuing that resurgence. Straight after The Soap Awards ceremony had finished, the whole Roscoe family were sat down to conduct our first television interview, which was for ITV 2. I didn’t hang about after our interview as I wanted to see my girlfriend and go to Hollyoaks’s own Awards’ after party where I just relaxed and had a good old chat with friends and colleagues.

Back to work as usual on Monday but the Roscoe train was gathering pace, especially with Charlie Wernham (Robbie) and Charlie Clapham (Freddie), having already been on-screen, laying excellent foundations for our arrival. It seemed that generally people were very excited to see us crash our way in to the Hollyoaks village. Twitter is a great tool for interacting with fans and the viewers of this show are very resourceful, active and passionate and many were already sending their best wishes, which was really lovely. We film Hollyoaks episodes several weeks in advance and the scenes we had filmed for the first episode seemed so long ago. I was in the fortunate position of not being able to torture myself thinking about them too much as I couldn’t really remember much about them.
Thursday finally arrived and the Roscoes made their screen debut. I sat down at home and watched the episode as it transmitted. I always analyse my performance and go through it forensically. Because of this I don’t ever really enjoy watching myself; an artist is always looking at his painting and making adjustments and correcting the flaws and this is my sort of approach to acting, if that makes sense. As our first episode ended, a look at Twitter and several text messages put me very much at ease because the response was overwhelmingly positive and in the end we make the programme for the viewers, so it is their opinions that really matter, as well of course as the big boss man, Hollyoaks producer Bryan Kirkwood, who had sent us a lovely text about our arrival, which was appreciated greatly and caused a smile on my face the Cheshire Cat would have been jealous of.

The fans seem to have got on board with the Roscoes in a big way and we are all very touched and motivated by that. I think what people seem to be seeing and enjoying is a testament to the vision of our Producer, the excellent efforts of the story and writing teams, the casting department for putting the family together and of course, all the talented directors and crew we have the privilege to work with every day. This feels like the beginning of something very special, and exciting, and it is certainly a wonderful time to be part of this great show which is moving strongly in the right direction doing what it does best, and I am proud to be involved and I am looking forward to the future at Hollyoaks very much.

An amazing award-winning night at the Soap Awards


Anna Shaffer (Ruby Button)

I don’t think I have been as proud and as honored to be on Team Hollyoaks as I was this weekend.

We look forward to the Soap Awards every year, as it is the perfect opportunity for the cast and crew to get together and celebrate the hard work we do all year. We are always the loudest, the largest and most happiest cast at the ceremony but unfortunately we are not always the most victorious. But being ‘the underdogs’ is a label we love because it means we always have the chance to prove people wrong, which is exactly what we did this year at the 2013 British Soap awards by giving everyone a HUGE high 5 for our 5 awards. 5. FIVE. Now, that’s pretty impressive if I do say so myself.

For me, the weekend got off to a rather lovely start in Liverpool where I live with my beautiful flat-mate Jorgie Porter. Preparations for the awards started early with a manicure and pedicure to make sure there were no chipped nails on the red carpet later. Pink and polished, I zoomed over to Manchester where I bumped into the fabulous Andy Moss at the reception of the hotel we were staying at, The Hilton. Our rooms weren’t quite ready yet so we ran out to get some food before getting ready.

I think getting ready for red carpet events can actually be quite stressful, especially if, like me, doing your own make-up results in you looking like someone has punched you in the face. Luckily our wonderful press team had organised for the amazingly talented Rebecca Frances to do my make-up and the lovely Matthew Curtis and V05 team to tame my temperamental locks. No black eyes for me! My dress was by the Liverpool designer Kirsty Doyle, the classic style of the dress called for a classic hair and make-up look and this was the result:


Kirsty even came to the hotel to dress me – how lovely is that!
Suited and booted, we all headed to the awards. I shared a car with Carli Norris, Tamaryn Payne and my partner in crime Jazz Franks. It was great to see Tammy, who left the show a few months ago and I think we all nearly reduced our driver to tears with all our nervous pre-red carpet giggling!

The awards themselves were amazing, everyone looked absolutely incredible and I have to say I developed quite a few girl crushes throughout the evening! My favorite red carpet looks of the night were Shobna Gulati who was also wearing a beautiful Kirsty Doyle creation, Jacqueline Jossa who stunned in coral and our own Jenny Metcalf. Smoking. Hot. We were nominated in every single category this year, which was amazing, and the buzz when we sat down in our sets was infectious. As soon as the archetypal silver fox himself began the Intro for the awards we just knew this would be a wonderful evening.

I was seated next to Stephanie Davis and Steven Roberts and had been nominated to speak if we won for the Bus Crash, which was nominated for Most Spectacular Scene and Best Episode. As much as I was rooting for us, I secretly hoped we wouldn’t win just so I wouldn’t have to speak in front of everyone, I mean LOOK how many people there were!

BUT WE DID WIN. And I didn’t swear, fall over OR drop the award….yes!!!! And our winning streak didn’t stop there. We won four more times. Our hunky Danny Mac won the Sexiest Male Award, the charming Joseph Thompson picked up another for Best Newcomer and our very own star-crossed lovers Keiron Richardson & Emmett J Scanlan won the Best On Screen Partnership award. But it was the award for Best Actress, collected by Hollyoaks’ Claire Cooper that really brought the house down. She is one of the most beautiful and talented women in this industry and her time at Hollyoaks recently came to end, but what a way to go.

Mostly, I think the awards proved that Hollyoaks is in the strongest shape the show has been in for a long time and that everyone involved is so proud to be a part of a long running issue-led drama that continues to prove itself amongst its competitors. Oh, and that we are most definitely the rowdiest. I think most of us will have to have our shoes re-heeled this weeks after all the foot stomping…

Awards done & dusted it was time to let loose and celebrate. The Great Gatsby themed after party was the perfect place for everyone to congratulate each other, and dance away the evening. Naturally, I made a b-line for the one and only Chris Noth.


Yepp, that’s right. I MET MR BIG. OH MY GOD. Whatsmore, I even persuaded him to consider a cameo in Hollyoaks and left him speaking to our writing team as I went to refill my martini glass. So, ladies and gentlemen, watch this space.

The rest of the night is a blur of dancing, hugging, changing into converse and finally curling up in bed at 5am with my dominos pizza a huge pint of water. I lady I am not.

Thank you so much to everyone that voted for us this year, you are invaluable and the response to the show is such a huge part of the shows success. Keep watching, because you can expect, quite literally, (mr) BIG things in the future.

Anna xx

Featuring WPMU Bloglist Widget by YD WordPress Developer