Since arriving on set in February, village life has been anything but quiet for Harry Thompson. Battling his inner demons and sexuality, Parry Glasspool has opened himself up to a world of heartache – and rather a few kisses along the way. He’s also bared his soul, and rather buff chest, to the nation. But what’s it like being the new-kid on the block? And will he ever replace Brendan in the eyes of Hollyoaks fans and steal Ste’s heart? Did you know Harry was to be gay when you first started? When I first joined, I actually thought I’d be with John Paul, and I think others thought that too. They didn’t tell me at the start and I was always in the dark, which is kind of a good thing, because Harry’s constantly confused. But I was aware when doing that scene where Kieron got beaten up and I was eyeing him up. From then onwards, he and I suspected something was almost definitely going to happen. And now look… We’re here! [Laughs] Do you feel excited being at the forefront of a leading UK soap with a gay storyline? Yeah, totally! Something nice and meaty. For want of a better phrase… [Laughs] Ooops! But yeah, I like it. It’s great to have this storyline out there at such an important time for the soap. Have you always been a Hollyoaks fan? Shhhh, but I didn’t really watch soaps. Just don’t tell my boss! [Laughs] I was actually an EastEnders kid when I was younger. But in the first year of uni, one of my housemates loved Hollyoaks and I use to watch the story with Brendan and got hooked for about a year. I got totally hooked! How’ve fans reacted to you joining the show and getting rather close to Ste? The fans need to shut up about Brendan! [Laughs] Like, all the time they mention him. The fans don’t like change, so if something happens, it’ll take a while for them to like it. Then once the viewers start to get into it, they REALLY get into it, and they really back people. And then, when someone gets in the way of that or it’s different, the fans don’t like it again. It’s usually because they’ve been rooting for something or someone for so long, as an audience, they feel protective. The fans just want you both to be happy then? I think it’s that, but if I ever read anything online, it’s always them asking me to let Ste settle down without me. Or, viewers want us to play happy relationships. But they don’t really work in soaps, do they? Do you have a favourite storyline from the last 20 years of Hollyoaks? Actually, yeah! I remember being really impressed with the whole Brendan storyline. I liked that story because it was the first time I think I’d see a man getting abused on TV. It’s usually a man to a woman, but it was interesting seeing it the other way around and with a gay couple. For me, that was impressive writing – and daring, too. We were thinking that the costume budget for Hollyoaks must be about zero, because you never really seem to have a top on… YEAH! [Laughs] You just gotta make sure that you’re looking good on the day. They always lather you up with fake tan anyway, because otherwise you get bleached out. With Ste’s best friend being Harry’s dad, have you noticed an older audience engaging with your character? Kinda. I think there’s a couple of people saying that it’s a bit cheeky, actually. Ste’s really Harry’s dad’s best mate and everyone really wants to know what Tony’s going to do when he finds out. Like, how angry he’s going to be, but no one’s had any big opinion on them not being together. I think they’re all just waiting to see how he’ll take the news. How much influence do you think Hollyoaks has had on young people’s lives today? With soaps like ours, literally their lives depend on it. The fans take such a big influence from us. If I ever look online at what people are saying, they’re very outspoken – which is good, as you want your audience to be passionate about it. You really want them to care. Do you think it’s important to have strong gay characters in soaps today? If someone is gay and youngsters don’t have anyone to relate to on TV, they’ll feel like they’re on their own. And hearing people say “that’s gay” in a derogatory sense will make them think that being gay is wrong. But seeing same-sex couples regularly on TV gives them someone to relate to and helps them understand that being gay is not alien or something to be ashamed of. I think it’s just a healthy way to go about it.