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For­mer Hol­lyoaks star Em­mett J Scan­lan tells us about his new BBC3 drama, Over­shad­owed…

What are you up to, Em­mett?

I’m ap­pear­ing in a BBC3 On­line drama se­ries called Over­shad­owed. It’s in short form – that’s a se­ries of eight episodes of 10 min­utes each. It’s shot in vlogstyle and it’s beau­ti­fully writ­ten. It’s quite dark and very emo­tional.

What’s it about?

It’s the story of a teenage girl vlog­ger who suf­fers from anorexia, body dys­mor­phia and also has men­tal health is­sues. These are very im­por­tant sub­jects to talk about. I think we all have a form of body dys­mor­phia. We all have parts of our bod­ies that we don’t like.

Who do you play?

I play the girl’s father. I have a 14-yearold daugh­ter who, thank good­ness, doesn’t have anorexia. But it’s easy, as a dad, to imag­ine what it would be like if your child was suf­fer­ing so much. Be­ing a dad is the best thing in the world. You love your child more than life it­self and that makes you vul­ner­a­ble. Father­hood changed me.

How do you mean?

I re­mem­ber watch­ing the film Cold Moun­tain with Jude Law and Ni­cole Kid­man when my daugh­ter was lit­tle. There was this one scene where a baby had been left in its cot in the snow. I was scream­ing at the screen, ‘Take the baby, take the baby!’ Be­fore be­com­ing a dad, I’d have watched a scene like that but not be af­fected by it so much.

Do you watch Hol­lyoaks these days?

I haven’t watched it since I left back in 2013. It’s gone. It’s in the past. I wouldn’t have been able to move for­ward if I was hang­ing onto some­thing else. But I do love the show – it’s where I met my wife, Claire Cooper, who played Jac­qui Mcqueen and we still have quite a few friends there. Hol­lyoaks gave me my first real break as an ac­tor in the UK and I’ll al­ways be ex­tremely grate­ful for that.

Many ac­tors say work­ing on a soap is the best train­ing an ac­tor can have. Would you agree?

Ab­so­lutely. I don’t think there’s a bet­ter medium for an ac­tor to learn his or her craft. I was there for two-and-a-half years, of­ten do­ing six-day weeks. I was in about 360 episodes. I think that’s ex­tra­or­di­nary!

Can you see your­self ever go­ing back?

I ac­tu­ally pitched for my char­ac­ter’s death but they didn’t kill Bren­dan Brady off. I loved him as a char­ac­ter and there are things I miss about the show, but it’s not on the agenda at the mo­ment. In the fu­ture, though, some years down the line… Who knows?

Over­shad­owed on BBC3 On­line from Sun­day 1 Oc­to­ber, 10.00am.

Fam­ily mat­ters: Em­mett as dis­tressed dad Brian with his fam­ily in Over­shad­owed

Hol­lyoaks rogue. As Bren­dan Brady with boyfriend Ste in the do­mes­tic abuse sto­ry­line Happy cou­ple: Em­mett met his ac­tress wife Claire on the set of Hol­lyoaks

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