Freshers’ Week is upon us. Students all over the country are relocating to new halls of residence, embarking on potentially life-forming journeys that will encompass new friends, new skills, new hobbies and probably lots of alcohol-related vomiting. One of the aforementioned hobbies will be watching the standard student television schedule: Jeremy Kyle is a regular feature, as is dinner party documentary Come Dine With Me and the omnipresent Friends. Soap Operas are also commonly on the boxes of our nation’s students; if you’re from the south it might be Eastenders, from the north it’ll probably be Coronation Street, if you’re from… actually, I have no idea who watches Emmerdale. However, one programme that breaches the north-south divide is the Chester-based student soap opera, Hollyoaks.
This year, in sync with Freshers’ Weeks across the UK, Hollyoaks has its own new batch of undergraduates. The characters of Barney, Will, Annalise, Ash, Scott and Rob will all be making their debuts on the show. Impact caught up with the Freshers cast for a quick chat about their new student lives. Over the next 6 days we’ll be posting one of those interviews every 24 hours. First up, James Atherton who plays Will Savage…
Impact: Are we right in thinking that Will has appeared on the show before?
James Atherton (Will): That’s right. He came in February, he’s Dodger’s younger brother. We live in a campervan outside the McQueen’s.
Impact: Could you give us your impression of the character of Will?
James Atherton (Will): For the last 5/6 months Will’s been this quite bookish, insular character, he’s kept himself to himself. Dodger is constantly putting him down, niggling him, taking the piss out of him. He takes himself away, finds a release in reading – he’s quite intellectual. Also, he’s infatuated with Theresea, she set eyes on him the first time he went to the village and he hasn’t been able to stop thinking about her since.
Impact: Can we expect the relationship with Theresea to develop now that Will is a more pronounced character?
James Atherton (Will): Absolutely. The relationship is going to develop really quickly over the next couple of weeks. What’s really interesting is that what they’ve tried to do with Will is, because he’s been bullied/put down, they’ve built this group that accept him for who he is – which I think happens to a lot of people at uni, they find a group of people who either have similar views or just all get on, sort of bounce of each other. Suddenly Will feels comfortable in his own skin, he really starts to come out of himself.
Impact: Do you think that freshers at Nottingham University will be able to empathise with Will’s character?
James Atherton (Will): Yeah, I would really, really hope so. In my experience it’s the kind of thing that most people go through, you spend your school life going along with whatever, then you get to Uni and you’ve suddenly got all this freedom, you can do what you want, you find the people that you want to be mates with, the people that you find challenging and funny. It’s a massive stepping stone, it’s not something to be scared of, it’s something to embrace. That’s what they’ve tried to do with Will in this HCC Freshers week, hopefully it’ll be really nice.
Check back tomorrow for our second interview – Tom Scurr who plays the character of Barney, an “aristocrat” who is apparently “endearing, rather than perverse or creepy”…