EASTENDERS NEWS: TAMZIN OUTHWAITE RETURNING AS MEL OWENS 116

After nearly sixteen years away from Walford, Tamzin Outhwaite is reprising her role as Melanie Owen and will be back in Walford in the New Year.

Last seen in April 2002, Mel fled Walford when everything started to fall apart. If losing her beloved husband, Steve Owen, was not enough heartbreak for Mel, his web of deceit and lies were soon uncovered and Mel found herself facing a long stretch in prison as she was unknowingly implicated in her late husband’s drug dealing. As many other betrayals, by those closest to her, came to light Mel took desperate measures and she fled the country, losing Phil the small matter of her £30,000 bail money in the process…

Classy, sassy and fierce, Mel Owen’s return to Walford is bound to turn a few heads as well tear open old wounds. But with so much history in Albert Square, just why is Mel coming back? One thing is for sure, when gorgeous Mel Owen returns the drama will not be far behind.

During her previous time at EastEnders, Tamzin instantly cemented herself as an EastEnders icon. She was involved in some of the shows biggest storylines including Who Shot Phil, her love affair and subsequent marriage with Steve Owen and who can forget her ill-fated relationship with Ian Beale. Since leaving EastEnders, Tamzin has gone on to star in countless television, film and theatre roles including Out Of Control, Red Cap, New Tricks and Sweet Charity.

Speaking about her return to Walford, Tamzin says: “When I got the call from John (Yorke) asking if I would consider coming back to EastEnders, it was something I just couldn’t refuse. John created Mel’s most memorable storylines so it is an honour that he has asked me to return. EastEnders is in my DNA and I always knew deep down that someday I would revisit Mel; she is a strong independent woman with lots more stories to tell. To be stepping back into Mel’s shoes nearly twenty years after I first started feels just perfect.”

John Yorke, Creative Director, EastEnders says: “Tamzin is one of EastEnders’ biggest stars, so it’s particularly exciting to welcome her back to Walford for an incredible storyline – one that will awaken a lot of old ghosts, some great memories, and a whole new series of adventures too. We’re thrilled and flattered to have Tamzin back and we can’t wait to reveal just where she’s been, and just who Melanie Owen is now”.

Tamzin will begin filming in the next few weeks and will appear on screen in the New Year. Tamzin made her first appearance on 19 October 1998 and left 12 April 2002.

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HOLLYOAKS ANNOUNCES SHOCK NEW SEX ABUSE STORYLINE 30

Hollyoaks bosses are planning a sexual abuse storyline for show newcomers Ollie Morgan and Buster Smith.

A dark new plot will see football coach Buster abuse his position of power to groom Ollie, who was introduced as Luke Morgan’s teenage son two months ago.

Brody reacted with hostility when Damon’s dad Buster showed up in the village after Maggie’s death which implies that he may have been a previous victim of the manipulative football coach.

Up until now, Buster has settled into the village well, setting up sporting opportunities for youngsters and embarking on a romance with Marnie Nightingale. But his true colours will be revealed when he takes advantage of his position of power.

When he starts opening up to Buster about problems at home, Buster will start to groom him in secret and Hollyoaks are working with Survivors Manchester to ensure that the difficult story is tackled in the correct and appropriate way.

The Hollyoaks team have been working closely with the Survivors Manchester charity while creating this storyline. The charity previously consulted on John Paul McQueen’s male rape story in 2014.

Duncan Craig from Survivors Manchester said: ‘It is once again an absolute pleasure to be working with Hollyoaks on another hugely important storyline that is so topical and relevant. Working with producers, researchers, script writers and the cast, we have been able to develop a story that is rooted firmly in the present day and will show the intricacies of grooming and the difficulty in speaking out as a young male.

‘The team at Hollyoaks has again 100% committed to working with us to ensuring the male survivor sat at home watching the story will feel he is understood, as a survivor led organisation, this is important part of this work.’

Aedan Duckworth who plays Ollie, added: ‘It’s a privilege to have been given this challenging storyline for Ollie. To ensure I accurately depict Ollie’s situation I have had guidance from Survivor’s Manchester and support and advice from Gary Lucy during the filming process.

‘I hope to continue to raise awareness around this subject and encourage those who may have found themselves in a similar situation, to reach out and seek the support they deserve.’

Meanwhile, show boss Bryan Kirkwood commented: ‘While the backdrop of this story is football, the issue itself is far broader and we hope it will encourage all children and young adults to speak out if they ever find themselves in Ollie’s situation.

‘As with all our issue stories we want to encourage parents to open a dialogue within the home about subjects that are difficult to talk about. We are in a unique position of being able to talk to a bright and engaged audience about important issues without lecturing them.’

Hollyoaks will launch the story on April 16 on E4, as Buster starts to get close to Ollie and Brody confides in Luke’s ex-wife Scarlett about his own past.

EDDIE LEAVY TALKS NEW SHOW ‘A.P. BIO’ & HIS FAVOURITE ACTORS 48

With an impressive resume of work already behind him consisting of both acting and directing credits, Eddie Leavy’s latest project A.P. Bio is perfect for anyone looking for a new comedy show to indulge in, and with Seth Myers as an executive producer, whether you’ve seen it yet or not, you just know it’s going to be good. ThisIsTheLatest caught up with Eddie to talk early ambitions, his admiration of Neil Patrick Harris and upcoming projects.

TITL: Hi Eddie. Please sum yourself up in four words for me.

Eddie Leavy: I am passionate, creative, loyal, and funny!

TITL: What would you say your unique selling point as an actor is?

EL: The wonderful thing about being an actor, and even working in any industry, is everyone is one of a kind. It is physically impossible for anyone to be just like me, and vice versa. I take pride in being different from everybody else. Right now, I’m really enjoying making people laugh through comedy.

TITL: At what age did you first realise you wanted to be an actor and have you ever had any other career aspirations?

EL: From 3rd grade on, I knew I loved to perform. I think it took me a while to know I would wanted to pursue acting as a profession. For a while I thought I wanted to work in public relations, but now there’s no going back!

TITL: Which actors most inspired and influenced your career path growing up and how, if at all, have those influences changed over the years?

EL: I don’t know if any single actor or actresses influenced me as a kid, but I definitely can recall certain shows that really captivated me. Growing up I would watch reruns of “Growing Pains” on the Disney Channel. I would laugh so hard at the actors in the Seaver family, and remember thinking, “I want to make people laugh like that.” I was also very inspired by live theater. My first Broadway show experience was, “Beauty and the Beast,” and I was mesmerized by the performances of the actors on the stage. After that experience, I would beg my family to take me to see Broadway shows as often as possible.

Now that I’m older, I am really inspired by all the incredible female performances nowadays – watching actresses like Kerry Washington, Viola Davis, Regina King, Taraji P. Henson, and Reese Witherspoon be so vulnerable on camera really speaks to me.

TITL: Which actor and their career would you say you’re most inspired by and why?

EL: I really admire Neil Patrick Harris. He does it all – film, TV, Broadway, hosting, music, comedy, drama. I would love to crossover into several different mediums of storytelling.

TITL: Your latest project A.P. Bio premiered earlier this month. Without giving too much away, what can you tell me about the show and the character you play?

EL: A.P. Bio is about a disgruntled Harvard professor, Jack Griffin, who for various reasons, ends up teaching an A.P. biology class in his hometown of Toledo, OH. What makes this show so awesome is that the kids in Mr. Griffin’s class truly want to learn, and Mr. Griffin has no intention of teaching them anything about biology. My character Anthony is not easily amused by Mr. Griffin’s antics. He’s a spitfire! He is not happy that Mr. Griffin is teaching his class at all, and chaos ensues.

TITL: What drew you to the role and how has it differed from your previous ones?

EL: When you hear Lorne Michaels, Seth Myers, Mike O’Brien, comedy, and NBC in one sentence, you immediately say “yes.” I love story telling through the high school experience, so to be able to do this has been a dream come true. This is the first time I’ve played a nerdy, honor roll type of character, so that was a lot of fun and a new challenge.

TITL: Are there any funny moments or stories from set you can share?

EL: We laughed every day on set. The students in the class really bonded, and we had the best time ever. We were always taking silly videos and making inside jokes.

TITL: If you could work with one director and four of your fellow actors, in a show or film of your choice, who would you choose and what would the project be? 

EL: I would work with any of the actors or directors on A.P. Bio again – they were all fantastic. I would love to make some sort of TV show with music being an integral of it. I love shows like Empire and Glee that incorporate music in the storylines.

TITL: You’ve also appeared in shows such as The Neighbors, Bella and the Bulldogs and Those Who Can’t and co-directed the short #ToothFairies. Do you have a preference when it comes to acting and directing or are you just grateful for the opportunities to do both?

EL: Right now my focus is definitely on acting, but I would love to explore more directing opportunities in the future!

TITL: Are there any other projects or plans in the pipeline you can tell me about? What’s next for you?

EL: I can’t say too much about it – but I just wrapped a new project for Netflix that I am super excited about!

TITL: Finally then – what are your more long term goals? What’s left on your personal and professional bucket lists and at what point would you be able to say to yourself: “Yeah, I’ve made it”?

EL: I want to do it all!  However, longevity is the main goal. I want to entertain people for the rest of my life. More specifically, I would love to a musical project for film or TV. I love the blend of both mediums, and would really enjoy being a part of one. However, if I ever got the point in my career where I was invited to the Met Ball, I would think, “Yeah, I’ve made it.”

A.P. Bio is airing now on NBC and you can keep up to date with Eddie by following him on Twitter. Header photo credit: Julia Peltier.