Things have just got mightily complicated in Hollyoaks as the split of Darren and Nancy Osborne and the reveal of Luke Morgan’s secrets have led Darren into the arms of broken hearted bride Mandy Richardson all over again. And the pair are set to be unable to resist their attraction as a secret affair kicks off.
While Luke tries to establish a relationship with his son Oliver and Nancy looks into marriage counselling to try and save what she has with Darren, there is a whole other layer to this mess that they are oblivious to. And it’s by no means a one off for Darren and Mandy.
As the couple try their best to keep their secret trysts hidden from Luke and Nancy, we caught up with Ashley Taylor Dawson, who plays naughty Darren, to get the lowdown on what’s next. And he is predicating a definite divide among fans – somehow he doubts that they will forgive Darren for this one!
When did you first find out about this affair storyline?
It was actually Jess Fox who told me. She’s always well ahead of me when it comes to picking up scripts and reading ahead – she’s a very organised lady! Jess asked me: ‘Have you heard what’s coming up? I’m fuming with Darren!’ That’s because it’s like being a married couple and we’ve been together for years now.
I think it’s a good storyline, because Nancy and Darren have been together for so long now, so how many times can things go wrong and they still stay together? I’ve been very happy with the way it’s been written. For me it’s like a new lease of life having Mandy and Luke back in the show, so it’s great. Moving forwards, it’s about maintaining that level of friction: ‘Is the affair going to carry on? Are Luke and Nancy going to find out?’ As long as it doesn’t become boring, that’s the key.
What has prompted Darren to have an affair with Mandy?
There’s been a lot of pressure on Darren and Nancy with everything they’ve been through together. I think one key point for Darren was when he went for his sentencing for drug dealing and Nancy didn’t turn up to support him in court. For the first time ever, he thought: ‘What about me?’
Everything he does, no matter how ridiculous, is for the Osborne family. They’d been losing money and Nancy was going through a tough time with her MS, so that’s why Darren started dealing drugs. So for Nancy not to turn up and support Darren during the hardest time of his life was difficult. He lost a lot of respect for her through that.
From Nancy’s point of view, she’s had to accept Darren back into her life after he’s come out of prison, but how do you really forgive and forget after something like that? So their relationship has been suffering because of all these problems.
How would you describe Darren’s feelings for Mandy?
It’s a strange relationship now that Darren and Mandy have found themselves in this position. Darren doesn’t mean to do anything bad. There’s always been feelings there between them, because Mandy was his first girlfriend and they’ve been there before.
It’s the right time, right place, and right person. Whether that blossoms into something genuine, you’ll have to wait and see. It’s definitely not going to just be a one-night stand, though, because there are feelings involved. It’s going to be a very interesting year ahead.
Fans often defend Darren, but could that change this time?
It’s going to be very interesting to find out! Nancy and Darren are a very popular couple and they seem to stand for everything that a strong relationship should be in Hollyoaks. They’ve got the history and they’ve been through a lot.
But just before this has happened, Nancy was the one who ended thie relationship, just because of Darren keeping Luke’s big secret. That doesn’t sit right with Darren and he feels hard done by. It’s a strange one, because each character is in a bad position here. You can feel for every party in this crazy affair that they’re going to have. But how it’s going to be received, I don’t know. We’ll see!
Hollyoaks’ producer Bryan Kirkwood has said that great couples like Nancy and Darren need to be tested to stay interesting. Do you agree?
Yeah, it’s a great thing to happen because it messes everything up and that’s what a soap needs – it needs drama. For Nancy and Darren, they’ve been through so much together. The writers didn’t want to just do a typical fling storyline. This is different because there’s so much history there.
Even with Luke and Darren, they’re best mates and they’ve been there for each other since Luke has been back in the village. So how’s that going to turn out now? It’s very exciting. For now, it’s how long Darren and Mandy can keep it under wraps.
Are you looking forward to seeing the scripts where it all gets exposed?
Definitely. I don’t know much about what’s coming up yet. I don’t really go upstairs to find out what’s going to happen with a long story, because it’s like getting the prize before you’ve done the competition. Whatever happens, I don’t think my on-screen relationship with Jess will suffer, because we’ve still got the history and the Osborne family, and that’s not something you just give up. Whichever angle they take, it’s going to be heavy drama.
We don’t think Darren would be too happy if Nancy retaliated by finding someone else…
Exactly! Although they have been there before when she slept with Rick and Robbie. To be honest, it’s incredible that they’re even still together! We used to have a laugh about that. When we attended Grace and Trevor’s wedding, I said: ‘Darren has slept with every girl here’. It was Sienna, Grace, Nancy, Maxine – even Frankie, because he tried it on with Frankie years ago.
The only one Darren hadn’t been with was Esther, who’s a lesbian, although he’ll probably try it on with her at some point! But that’s typical Hollyoaks.
We’ll also see Darren, Nancy, Luke and Mandy all in business together at the restaurant, which is sure to be awkward…
Yeah, the idea is that the characters are being brought closer together when they probably don’t want to be! But I think bringing back the old characters has been brilliant for the show.
If Darren just met a new girl on the show and had an affair, it wouldn’t have the same impact, because that would just be Darren being an idiot. Because Mandy has been there before and Luke is Darren’s best friend, people can relate to it a lot more.
Can you give us any final teasers?
I think the audience reaction is going to be completely split over who’s right, who’s wrong, and who should be together. What Mandy and Darren have done is understandable and real, so that’s exciting, but then as soon as they wake up the next day, they’ve got families to think about.
But then again, is it right to stay in a relationship when you’re not happy? Everything is taken into consideration with this storyline and it’s a lot to explore.
‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.