Fans of Hollyoaks will know that Patrick Blake is heading out of the soap soon after battling Motor Neurone Disease for the past few months – But not before leaving a few nasty surprises for after he is gone.
When Patrick first arrived in Hollyoaks it was very clear to see from the off that he was not someone to be messed with, as proven when he systematically started mentally and physically abusing wife Maxine (Nikki Sanderson) in what has to be descried as the most poignant, and ground-breaking portrayal of domestic abuse in soap history.
Now Maxine is back caring for Patrick in his final days, but rather than thank his lucky stars that she still cares enough to do this, Patrick has convinced himself that Maxine is just using him and biding her time till he dies so she can get back together with ex, Darren Osborne (Ashley Taylor-Dawson).
In typical Blake style, Patrick’s reaction to this is of the most evil variety as he plots and plots to set up more evidence than you can shake a stick at to make it look like his death, which he has decided to bring about himself with a little help from a reluctant Maxine, looks like he was murdered by his wife.
Unreality TV were lucky enough to catch up with Jeremy Sheffield, the amazing actor who has brought Patrick to life in such dramatic style, to find out what we can expect from his character’s final Christmas in Hollyoaks.
First of all we asked Jeremy how it felt to be leaving Hollyoaks for good:
“It feels good, and sad of course, very sad, but I quite like completion. I feel like it has been such a good stint, with lots of great stuff to do but this just feels like the right time, really, the perfect timing. So I am kind of caught between feeling very excited, and extremely sad.”
But will Jeremy miss Patrick?
“I will, I think. He has been very hard work to play, but in a really good, challenging way, in fact it has probably been the most challenging thing I have ever done. He is a very long way from me, he is a very complex character and working in a soap you don’t have much time so playing a character with such a degenerative disease like Motor Neurone Disease and trying to do that for a year, progressively losing physical ability, bit by bit and filming completely out of sequence, is a bit of a head spin. I will miss him, he is such a fascinating character to play, but it would be nice to maybe go and do a comedy next!”
Obviously since first arriving in Hollyoaks, Jeremy has had to tackle some very hard-hitting and important storylines, which he has done so spectacularly, in particular the domestic abuse storyline which was so accurately and painfully realistically portrayed that it even got picked up and used by an official Home Office awareness campaign. We wanted to know from Jeremy how it felt to have been part of such a pinnacle storyline:
“It was very exciting. I knew I was going to love it as soon as I first started, but had no idea how big it was going to be. I think they [the show writers] did a really great job as it is something that can go on for a very long time. I did hear occasionally on Twitter a few people moaning about how long it was playing out, but the fact is domestic abuse is something that can go on for a lifetime, it is repetitive and is a constant thing that people do go back to abusive partners. And I think they really did it with respect and intelligence, so it has been amazing to be part of that, and to have such an effect on people. It is a soap opera, and one of the great things about soap operas is that they are in our front rooms every single day and, particularly at Hollyoaks, they do have the ability to really show some strong issues and challenge people’s understanding of things. I think Hollyoaks do that very well, so I am very proud to have been part of that.”
With the end for Patrick looming, this storyline does seem like it is about to turn full circle, especially given Patrick’ mission to frame Maxine for his murder, we wanted to know if Jeremy was pleased that the plot has taken this dark twist?
“We did talk about redeeming Patrick before the end, as well as going with the Motor Neurone Disease storyline, which as an actor is a great challenge to try and portray. I sat with Bryan [Kirkwood, the show’s executive producer] and we discussed how the obvious ending would be to go for redemption, suddenly he becomes a nice man but that is probably not true to the character who we have been portraying for the past two years, and probably not true to real life either actually so I am glad they didn’t succumb to that.
“It’s nice for an actor to have people hate you, then people having sympathy for you, but then to flip it again and again to then having people absolutely loathing you in the last stretch, it has been wonderful to watch the reaction and to also challenge the audience a little bit by not making it be completely black or white. It is that little bit more complex and better at provoking a response, I think this is quite interesting to sit back and watch.”
That said, Patrick does almost have a change of heart towards the ned, as Jeremy explains:
“He does have a change of heart very close to the end – he starts to doubt! In his heart and mind he feels utterly betrayed by Maxine who he thinks is seeing Darren. It’s only right at the end game that he starts to doubt whether he has made the right call, but then events take over, which I can’t tell you about, but that are pretty shocking actually, which means that the situation gets taken out of his hands….
“But it is completely not what you would expect!”
Of course Patrick is not the only twisted member of the Blake family, and we wanted to know if Jeremy was pleased with the development of his on-screen daughter Sienna (Anna Passey), and granddaughter Nico (Persephone Swales-Dawson), throughout this storyline:
“I think that is what has been so great about the Blake family to see these three generations of this horribly dysfunctional family. You can recognise the twisted dysfunction from each generation in different ways, and almost see where they are coming from. I think that is quite interesting for the viewers to watch that, knowing their personalities didn’t just come out of the blue. You can see why Sienna behaves the way she does, because of Patrick, and Nico behaving the way that she does because of Sienna, which is because of Patrick – I think they have done that very well, it all makes sense, as twisted as it is, it does make sense.”
So, seeing as how he is the central cog in their gene pool of darkness, we wondered how Jeremy thinks the rest of the Blake family will cope without Patrick?
“Well, I think that is Patrick’s huge concern. The more he sees how Nico behaves, the more concerned he is for Sienna’s safety after he has gone – who is going to look out for her?
“He has made a video to tell Ben what Nico has actually done, but of course he has to send it at some point, which is a decision he makes later on down the line…
“After Patrick’s death, and it is very complicated how he dies, there are all sorts of repercussions that spin off for a year! So it has effects on all sorts of people in the village, and particularly round his direct family, obviously, profound repercussions on all of them… But I can’t tell you what any of them are, but they have really gone to town with it, and it should be very interesting.”
Hollyoaks can be seen weeknights on Channel 4, check out their full Christmas schedule below:
Monday 28th December – 6.35pm
Tuesday 29th December – 6.30pm
Wednesday 30th December – 6.30pm
Thursday 31st (New Year’s Eve) – 5.35pm – 6.35pm (Double episode! Hurrah)
Friday 1st January – NO HOLLYOAKS
Monday 28th December – 7pm
Tuesday 29th December – 7pm
Wednesday 30th December – 7pm – 8pm (Double episode!)
Thursday 31st (New Year’s Eve) – 6.35pm
Friday 1st January – NO HOLLYOAKS. Boo.