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!