ross adams

GT (UK) - - COVER -

He’s the fresh-faced queen of Hol­lyoaks that’s got a touch of the Wicked Witch puls­ing through his veins. But we can’t help but love a splash of Scott Drinkwell. From help­ing kid­nap a baby, ly­ing about his HIV sta­tus and even at­tempt­ing to come be­tween love­birds John Paul and Ste, the Ch­ester vil­lage has never seen quite so many Brit­ney Spears mo­ments in its colour­ful 20 year past... What’s the re­ac­tion been like from fans since join­ing the show? How’ve they taken to you? I was al­ways a bit wor­ried how the gay com­mu­nity would warm to Scott; whether or not they would. The thing about Scott is he wears his sex­u­al­ity like a badge of hon­our. He’s com­pletely proud of who he is and I think it’s lib­er­at­ing for me, be­cause I didn’t come out un­til a lot later in life. For me, it’s nice to play a char­ac­ter who was just so care­free and so proud of who he is, but I still worry if he’ll be ac­cepted by the gay com­mu­nity. Times are chang­ing, then? I think when they cre­ated the char­ac­ter of Scott, they wanted him to be very real and to be bitchy. I was wor­ried that’d make him un­like­able. When you think back to how things have changed from even when I was younger, I re­mem­ber watch­ing Cor­rie and the kiss be­tween Todd and Nick caused a huge de­bate and there was so many com­plains to Of­com. That wasn’t ac­tu­ally that long ago, and you think how amaz­ing things have changed in such a short space of time. It’s safe to say that one brush doesn’t fit all then? YEAH, def­i­nitely! I think what’s re­fresh­ing about Hol­lyoaks as a show is that it’s not scared of wel­com­ing those big char­ac­ters. With other soaps, it’s bril­liant that there’s so much gay rep­re­sen­ta­tion, but a lot of other soaps tend to shy away from the more camp, out­ra­geous char­ac­ters and I think it’s re­ally good that we at Hol­lyoaks can rep­re­sent that too – in just the same way that “straight act­ing” gay char­ac­ters are rep­re­sented in oth­ers shows. Well, what­ever straight act­ing means, any­way. It does seem some­times that other soaps feel the need to jus­tify why a char­ac­ter is gay, rather than just sim­ply let­ting them be gay... Ab­so­lutely! And the thing that re­ally pleased me when I was of­fered the part was that all new char­ac­ters in Hol­lyoaks get to meet the exec, Bryan Kirk­wood. To­gether with him, and the story team, you come up with a char­ac­ter bi­og­ra­phy and find your back story. One of the things about work­ing with Bryan is when he talks about sex­u­al­ity – and Scott’s sex­u­al­ity in par­tic­u­lar – it’s kinda re­ally far down the list. It’s not the be-all and en­dall, It’s just an­other thing that makes the char­ac­ter and that’s why I was re­ally grate­ful when I got of­fered this role. It’s kind of all change for you as be­fore join­ing Hol­lyoaks, you were work­ing on scripts for Em­merdale, right? It was pretty bonkers, be­cause I’d done a lot of act­ing when I was younger, grad­u­ated from uni and then I had a re­ally good run for a few years. I did a com­edy se­ries for BBC3 and was nom­i­nated for best com­edy per­for­mance. I even had a year where I was do­ing out of work ac­tor jobs and even worked for the Fire Brigade tak­ing the emer­gency calls... [Laughs] Not slid­ing down a pole in a fire­man’s uni­form? Sadly not! [Laughs] Af­ter 18 months of be­ing a PA at Cor­rie, I wanted to do some more writ­ing or some­thing a bit cre­ative so moved to Em­merdale as a sto­ry­line and script editor. Then the Hol­lyoaks job came up and I’d just turned 30 and thought that If I don’t go for this now, I prob­a­bly never will. How im­por­tant was it for Hol­lyoaks to be the first to have a lead­ing gay male char­ac­ter with HIV? Ac­tu­ally, that re­ally sur­prised me when I found it out that we’re the first soap to tackle the is­sue with a gay char­ac­ter. It’s one of the things that you’re so aware of as a gay man. Kieron did a speech at Manch­ester Pride and he was in­cred­i­bly moved by it, be­cause he was there rep­re­sent­ing us, and be­cause of his sto­ry­line, it re­ally touched him. Ste’s got HIV but that doesn’t de­fine him. He’s still car­ry­ing on liv­ing his life and he’s still happy. We’re still in­ter­ested in his loves and his losses and I think that’s re­ally im­por­tant. Is there ever a re­spon­si­bil­ity for you to rep­re­sent the gay com­mu­nity on screen? I ac­tu­ally got a let­ter from a young boy of 15 who could re­late to Scott. He was be­ing bul­lied at school be­cause he loves Brit­ney Spears, too. Since I joined the show, those bul­lies have said that “he’s like Scott from Hol­lyoaks”. Now, with my char­ac­ter on screen, he said he feels grate­ful to me. That’s a mas­sive re­spon­si­bil­ity as there’s young peo­ple strug­gling to deal with who they are, and if I can help just one per­son, that’s awe­some!

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