Through almost a year of bulimic binges and purges, Hollyoaks Cleo McQueen has maintained her secrecy, hiding her problems from those closest to her. But as the storyline comes to a head in a special episode for World Mental Health day, can Cleo keep pretending everything is okay?
Metro.co.uk was on set as the Hollyoaks cast filmed scenes for the wedding, and managed to get a few details out of Cleo actress Nadine Mulkerrin, in between bouts of her spinning around. But why was she spinning so much?
She told us: Thats my Zoe Lucker trick, I learnt it from her. If youre playing drunk or something, you spin around just before they say action, and it gives a natural, wooooooo!
The mysterious spinning could have something to do with the style of the episode, which Nadine explains is three versions of the story that Cleo tells, her perception of the day through shots of her and Farrah, who wants to hear about Cleos wedding.
She continued: Cleo says she should be out celebrating with Joel. She describes something amazing and beautiful, the perfect day. And thats intercut with scenes we shot earlier, and its all hunky-dory. And then Farrah asks Cleo to tell her what really happened.
In the confusion between reality and imagination, understanding whats really happening on the wedding day is going to be difficult. On the upside, no matter what, viewers are going to see at least one wedding between Joel and Cleo going well! But do we ever find out whats really going on?
Nadine insists we will, saying, its all stages of reveal, you wont even really know where they are at points.
When asked how far in advance she knew about the storyline, which is absolutely centered around her character, Nadine replied, it was at the Baftas, Bryan sort of gave me a little nod and said, weve got some exciting stuff coming up. And I spoke to Roanne Bardsley, the writer, and she sort of talked me through it and I went, oh my god thats amazing, I cant wait to do that!
So I do sort of get quite a bit of a heads up. When I realised they were tying it in with the World Mental Health Day and that was going to be the crescendo on the storyline, I was like, thats amazing. They always treat these big, issue-led storylines with such sensitivity.
Cleos bulimia storyline has been carrying through the background of the soap for almost a year now, and Nadine thinks back to its introduction. It was New Years Eve on screen, first time you saw her doing it. Its definitely been a slow-burner, its always been in the background.
The soap has challenged some tough preconceptions about what people can and cant do when theyre ill, too, featuring Cleo in the Magaluf storyline, something which surprised Nadine.
You think, oh, if shes on holiday, are they going to have her in a bikini? But it was the complete opposite, that storyline was her thread throughout the whole Magaluf episode, which I thought was really good.
As for Cleo and Joel, fans of the couple should feel momentarily comforted by Nadines reveal that they will be happy, but then its Hollyoaks and you cant be happy for too long!
You can find information, helpline numbers and support relating to bulimia and eating disorders on the Beat website.