Mandy can’t re­sist Dar­ren…

AS HER CHAR­AC­TER VOWS TO PUT HER AF­FAIR BE­HIND HER, HOL­LYOAKS’ SARAH JAYNE DUNN RECK­ONS THAT’S EAS­IER SAID THAN DONE…

Inside Soap - - WELCOME! - Sarah El­lis

If we dis­cov­ered at our wed­ding re­cep­tion that our new hus­band was al­ready mar­ried, and had a teenage son he’d failed to men­tion, we’d be fu­ri­ous and want re­venge – but sleep­ing with your hus­band’s best mate is not the answer!

Yet that’s ex­actly what Hol­lyoaks’

Mandy did on her wed­ding night, af­ter find­ing out that Luke was a bigamist. And al­though she and Dar­ren agreed to put their se­cret night of pas­sion be­hind them, it seems they just can’t keep their hands off each other…

“This kind of thing does go on in real life, doesn’t it?” muses ac­tress Sarah Jayne Dunn, aka Mandy, as we grill her on her char­ac­ter’s ex­tra­mar­i­tal shenani­gans. “You of­ten hear about peo­ple who have re­con­nected with an old flame – ei­ther on­line or when they’ve bumped into each other again af­ter years apart. So what I like about this story is that the af­fair is hap­pen­ing with some­one who Mandy has his­tory with. I think that makes it be­liev­able.” We can cer­tainly see how the lines have be­come blurred be­tween Mandy and Dar­ren, who first dated back when they were teenagers. But that doesn’t stop the whole sit­u­a­tion from be­ing in­cred­i­bly messy – par­tic­u­larly as Mandy has cho­sen to for­give Luke for ly­ing and give their re­la­tion­ship an­other go. “Mandy is com­mit­ted to Luke – they’ve been to­gether a long time, and she’s stuck with him through thick and thin,” Sarah tells us. “Luke was Mandy’s first love, and I think she al­most feels like she needs to be there for him, be­cause he will fall apart with­out her. She knows that what Luke did was wrong – but if she leaves him, what will hap­pen to him? There’s a sense that they need each other, but at the same time they’re prob­a­bly not right for each other.”

To add to an al­ready strained re­la­tion­ship, Mandy and Luke now have Luke’s son Oliver liv­ing with them! And deal­ing with a teenager and his mood swings is taking its toll.

“Again, Mandy is stand­ing by Luke, be­cause he’s taken her daugh­ter Ella on as his own,” Sarah re­minds us. “But bring­ing a teenage boy into the equa­tion is a big re­spon­si­bil­ity – it’s not like them hav­ing a baby. This is a young adult, some­one who has his own ways and his own mind­set. Also it’s not some­thing that Luke dis­cussed with Mandy – it’s just been forced on her. So it’s def­i­nitely caus­ing a bit of fric­tion be­tween them.”

With all this ten­sion in her romance, it’s no won­der Mandy is look­ing for a bit of light re­lief from Dar­ren. And when his dad Jack suf­fers a heart at­tack this week, it seems he needs a lit­tle TLC, too…

“They just bump into each other, and Dar­ren is in pieces,” ex­plains Sarah. “He

and Nancy are bick­er­ing at the mo­ment, and Mandy is start­ing to think that she shouldn’t have gone back to Luke. It’s not an in­ten­tional thing – the chem­istry is just there be­tween Mandy and Dar­ren, and I think that’s what they can’t re­sist. They just can’t help them­selves.”

But af­ter the pair share an­other pas­sion­ate mo­ment, Dar­ren has a cri­sis of con­science, and tells Mandy that they have to end things. Mandy agrees – but that doesn’t stop the green-eyed mon­ster from rear­ing its head when Leela makes a pass at Dar­ren (see p29)!

“Mandy re­ally has no right to be jeal­ous,” reck­ons Sarah. “But I think the fact that she is shows there are deep feel­ings be­tween her and Dar­ren. She knows that stop­ping their af­fair is the right thing to do, yet she’s sad about it end­ing. She doesn’t want there to be any more ly­ing and cheat­ing – but whether she ac­tu­ally be­lieves they can con­trol them­selves is an­other thing!”

Some­thing tells us that this isn’t the end of the story. And Sarah cer­tainly hopes not, be­cause she’s lov­ing be­ing stuck be­tween her two lead­ing men – Gary Lucy who plays Luke, and Ash­ley Tay­lor Daw­son, aka Dar­ren.

“I love ev­ery­one, but it’s nice to be work­ing with peo­ple I’ve known for­ever,” she grins. “It’s like go­ing back in time, yet we’re old with kids now! Gary and I have been back for months, but we’re still go­ing, ‘Do you re­mem­ber that night out we had?’ and ‘Do you re­mem­ber when we went to that place?’. We’re con­stantly rem­i­nisc­ing, and it’s lovely.”

Luke how sim­i­lar they are: Hol­lyoaks chiefs did a good job of cast­ing Oliver!

Bub­bly’s on the tray: Mandy fizzes with ex­cite­ment when she sees Dar­ren

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