When TV soap legend Linda Gray of Dallas fame signed up for Hollyoaks she became the latest in a long line of stars to swap soaps.
It used to be that actors would spend years playing one character that we’d all come to love or hate and unless they had dreams of ‘making it in Hollywood’, they were quite happy to be type cast.
But in recent years it’s become acceptable for actors to hop from one soap to the next, swapping and changing and quite frankly, confusing us. We still can’t get over Michelle Collins trying to do a northern accent when Corrie bosses cast the former Eastender as Rovers landlady Stella Price. To us, she’ll always be Walford’s saucy Cindy Beale.
Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, which is set in Chester, is one of the biggest soap swap shops on TV. Here are the stars who have joined the cast after rising to fame elsewhere:
Time on Hollyoaks: November 2012 to present.
Plays: Maxine Minniver who has suffered domestic abuse, had a daughter with Down’s syndrome and buried her ex’s body in the Chester city wall after mistakenly thinking she had killed him.
Previous soap life: Nikki played hairdresser Candice Stowe on Coronation Street from 1999 to 2005. In a bizarre exit, she left when her character became a stylist to Status Quo.
Time on Hollyoaks: August 2010 to present.
Plays: Step-mum Diane O’Connor who stole an abandoned baby from outside a hospital after two failed attempts at IVF.
Previous soap life: Alex played Jacqui Dixon on Brookside from 1990-2003. Her storylines included becoming a surrogate for Max and Susannah Farnham, and going onto marry Max after Susannah died.
Time on Hollyoaks: February 2015 to June 2016
Played: Bad girl Reenie McQueen, who was mum to Porsche, Celine and Cleo and first appeared on screen when the character was in prison. In a dark storyline it was revealed that Reenie was raped as a young girl by her mum’s boyfriend, and subsequently found out she was pregnant. After learning of his death, Reenie feared her daughter Porsche would find out who her real father was.
Previous soap life: Zoe has certainly done the rounds in soapland, playing Max Branning’s girlfriend Vanessa Gold in Eastenders from March 2010 to October 2011 and spa manager Sonya Leach in Coronation Street in 1996.
Time on Hollyoaks: February 2013 to April 2013
Played: Trudy Ryan, who employed Jacqui and Theresa McQueen as cleaners before forcing Jacqui into transporting illegal vodka that she was producing. Trudy was later arrested after Jacqui discovered that she was involved in human trafficking.
Previous soap life: Daniella rose to fame at the tender age of 16 when she was cast as Sam Mitchell in Eastenders in 1990. As the younger sister to the Mitchell brothers, she had some prominent storylines but her well-reported off screen struggle with cocaine contributed to her being written in and out of the soap and even being replaced by another actress from 2002 to 2005.
Time on Hollyoaks: May 2013 to August 2014
Played: Mum of six Sandy Roscoe. Storylines included her marriage to gangster Fraser Black, who was later murdered and the revelation that she’s Darren Osborne's real mum.
Previous soap life: Another Eastenders alumni, Gillian played Kathy “Kaff” Beale between 1995 to 1998. She featured in some of the soaps most memorable storylines of the era, with her character being raped by yuppie bar owner ‘Willmott-Brown” and the unveiling of her partner Phil Mitchell’s affair with his sister-in-law Sharon.
Despite her character having died off screen in February 2006, Gillian returned to Eastenders in August after it was revealed that Kathy had faked her own death.
Time on Hollyoaks: Linda will make her debut this autumn. She is scheduled to appear on the show for a month, but bosses could bring her back if she’s a hit.
Played: Marnie Nightingale’s mum Tabitha.
Previous soap life: Linda starred in US soap Dallas from 1978-1989 as JR Ewing’s alcoholic trophy wife Sue Ellen. She also appeared on the show when it returned in 2012.
Time on Hollyoaks: April 2013 to May 2016
Played: Villainous Trevor Royle who tried to kill Jacqui McQueen after she plotted to con him out of thousands of pounds. During Greg’s stint on the show his character’s storylines involved drug dealing, kidnapping, being framed for murder and stabbed to death on his wedding day.
Previous soap life: Before getting his big break on Hollyoaks, Greg appeared as a series regular Terry Gibson on Brookside from 2002 to 2003 and loan shark Rick Neelan on Coronation Street, in 2009 and 2012. He also appeared twice in Emmerdale, playing two different characters.