Jeremy Edwards rose to fame as Hollyoaks alpha male Kurt Benson, whose fast-paced lifestyle and bad boy image proved a hit with the show's young audience.
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Fans were devastated when Kurt was killed in a hit and run accident in 1999, but Jeremy has now reprised his role and returned to Hollyoaks Later as a ghost.
The London-born actor, who was once engaged to S Club star Rachel Stevens, spoke to HELLO! Online about how it felt to be back on the Channel 4 soap...
For those who didn't watch Hollyoaks when you were in it originally, what can you tell them about your character?
Kurt was a bit of a bad boy, he liked his fast motorbike and his pretty girls and was unfaithful. He was a bit of a naughty boy all-round. Not really a fighter, popular with his friends, best friends, and a bit of a loose cannon really. He was having some problems with his wife, Ruth and left.
How excited were you not only to return to work on Hollyoaks, but be involved in Hollyoaks Later?
It wasn't a tough decision at all because I've always been very proud of Hollyoaks. I've still got a lot of friends in the show. People had said "there's a rumour that they're trying to bring some of the old people back" and I didn't think it would be me because my character had died! But because of the way they were planning to do it - really fun and clever - I was delighted to be back.
How has the show changed since you were on it?
It's changed beyond recognition really because it's massive now, so many cast members, which of course we didn't have. But I think it's really good, I get hooked in, in some of the storylines and some of the actors - some of the characters are really brilliant. I really liked, Emmett J Scanlan who played Brendan, he was a really good actor, very strong.
What hasn't changed since you last worked at Lime Pictures?
When I came back for wardrobe a few weeks ago it freaked me out - absolutely freaked me out. I got out of the cab and walked towards the building and it literally took me back to 18 years ago when I first arrived. I felt like the new kid, I was meeting the head of wardrobe to go shopping for costume, which is exactly what I did on that first day when I came down just on my own with my little rucksack. Everything is so much more built up, there are sets everywhere. Everyone was like 'hey how are you doing?' within half an hour.
Do people still recognise you from Hollyoaks?
Yeah all the time - even in London and it's because we started it. It's that thing, if you start something off, you're the original cast members therefore they always remember you. Some people will be 'ah I loved you when…' and you're like 'you can't be old enough to remember' but they do.
What did you want to get out of your return?
I really didn't think it was a possible thing but when they suggested it I had a meeting with Jane Steventon and they said how it was going to be done. I didn't want to come back as a ghost per-se but the idea that I'm guiding Tony and it’s his subconscious I think is quite cool. I feel lucky because it’s a really cool shoot. It all looks really great and we've done all these locations with Tony getting into trouble and being a bit different. You forget Tony has these friends, and they'll always be his friends.
Was it like anything else you’ve done before with Hollyoaks?
It was completely different because it's a lot more serious. Not that it was flippant before, but before when you were away from home it was like being on holiday, having a jolly - it's a different vibe this time. It's grittier isn't it?
What will the viewers be most surprised to learn about your character this time round?
I don’t think they’ll learn a lot about my character because I’m just there for Tony. I've had so much positive feedback. Even my wife's friends who know me, say 'I love Kurt', not Jeremy - it's the character. They want to see the leather jacket. They want that, they like that, it was really popular. It’s nice, it's really sweet - it’s a real compliment.
How do you feel knowing that Hollyoaks is 18 this year?
It makes me feel very proud because of the simple fact that at the very beginning we were on a 3 month contract. It was called Teen Soap, we shot ten episodes and we got slated by a lot of the press but the viewers liked it and we just got through. We got re-commissioned and now look at it - 18 years and it’s getting better and better all the time. I’m really proud.
Have you kept in touch with anyone from the cast when you were on the show?
Yeah pretty much everyone. I was best man at Will Mellor's wedding - I'm godfather to his son. I was best man at Ben Hull's wedding. They all came to my wedding and I was at Terry Dwyer's 40th recently.
What has been your most exciting job since leaving the cast?
I’ve had the chance to do theatre and presenting. I do like presenting a lot and I've had the chance to do a lot of holiday shows which are fun. You go away and you get to see the best of places. I'm very proud of the fact that I got to do a play in the West End, because that's a real achievement for any actor. Considering I wasn't a trained actor when I started and have learnt enough to practise and build my way up and be actually stood on a West End stage, I think that’s pretty good isn't it - to blag it up to that point I think that’s pretty good. I'd like to do it again.
Have you got anything else coming up after this?
I've written something which is quite exciting and I'm producing something. I'd like to direct too, I think I'd be a good director