Hollyoaks Then And Now: 14 Of Our Favourite Characters

Oh, Hollyoaks.

We have fond memories of tuning in to the dramz at 6.30pm of an evening (yup, right after The Simpsons).

And if there’s one thing we love, it’s a nostalgic list of our favourite characters. So here it goes…

See: What These 00s EastEnders Actors Are Up To Now

1. Lewis Richardson

>Picture: Twitter @benjhull


Played by Ben Hull, Lewis (and that iconic gold hoop) was introduced to the village in 1995. Sadly, his character committed suicide, and his emotional exit from the show came in 2001.

The serial soap actor is currently playing Mr T in BBC1’s Holby City.

2. Hannah Ashworth


Possibly most famous for her anorexia storyline, actress Emma Rigby worked hard to shed some light on the mental illness, winning a number of awards for her role.

Emma jolined the cast when she was 14 and stayed for five years.

3. Kristian Hargreaves


Played by Max Brown, this heartthrob was a favourite between 2002 and 2004, and got the attention of the ladies both on and off screen. 



4. Michaela McQueen



Feisty Michaela sure made an impression as part of the McQueen clan.

Played by actress Hollie-Jay Bowes, she joined the cast in 2006 and had her fair share of drama before announcing her departure on Twitter. 

5. Clare Devine

>Picture: Twitter @Gemma_Bissix

The second actress to take on the role, Gemma Bissix played this soap villain from 2009. Clare worked in The Loft, and caught the eye of owners (and best friends) Max Cunningham and O.B.

She eventually chose to be with Max, and plotted against them both, before good ol’ O.B came along to save the day.

Clare eventually met a sticky end in 2013.

These days, the actress is hanging out with Lizzie Cundy at Ascot, amongst other things.


6. Dan Hunter

>Picture: Twitter @AndymcActor

Dan arrived in the village in 2001, and soon become one of the most-loved characters of the time.

His relationship with Debbie Dean kept fans hooked. After being wrongly imprisoned, Dan was released to find that the love of his life had moved on.

They weren’t over each other, but just as they admitted their true feelings, Dan’s rally car exploded and he died.  We’re still not over it, to be honest.

After his emotional exit, Andrew landed the role of Thomas Seymour in the Golden Globe nominated period drama The Tudors.


7. Debbie Dean


Well, while we’re on the subject…. (Sob)

Married to Westlife singer Kian Egan, actress Jodi Albert is clearly luckier in love off-screen.

The mum-of-two was also a member of girl group Girl Thing.


8. Joe Spencer




Played by Matt Milburn, Joe made his first appearance in 2003.

A young fresher, you might remember that Joe was studying fashion.

These days, Matt is still acting and will soon be taking on the role of P.C Joe Malton in Heartbeat On Tour.

9. Jacqui McQueen


There’s just no denying those frace-framing strands of hair is there?

Yup, actress Claire Cooper took on the role of this tough McQueen sister. She was an ex-con, but she had a heart of gold underneath it all.

She left the world of Hollyoaks in 2013, and has since played Matilda in BBC drama From There To Here.

10. Izzy Davies


Played by Elize du Toit, the role of Izzy was created for her as part of Hollyoaks’ On The Pull campaign in 2000.

She left after four years, before returning in 2007 to visit her former flame Tony Hutchinson on his 30th Birthday. Of course, this didn’t go down too well with Tony’s then-girlfriend Jacqui McQueen…

Elize is still acting, bagging a role in Skyfall as M’s Assistant.

11. Mandy Richardson (previously Hutchinson)


One of the original Hollyoaks girls, Sarah Jayne Dunn spent 10 years growing up on our screens after joining in 1996. 

Since leaving in 2006 following the tragic death of Mandy’s daughter, she has returned three times.

Sarah has had roles in theatre, as well as a part in the Batman film The Dark Knight.

The 34-year-old is currently pregnant with her first child.

12. Rory ‘Finn’ Finnigan

>Picture: Twitter @James_Redmond_1


This vintage Hollyoaks character, played by James Redmond, first arrived in the village in 1997, before becoming a firm favourite up until last year.

During a break from the soap world, James presented children’s television, including a short stint on SM:TV Live alongside Cat Deeley.

13. Sarah Barnes

>Picture: Twitter @Louibatley

Believe it or not, it’s been six years since that tragic parachute accident. SAD FACE.

These days, Loui Batley is still acting, landing roles in films such as Tower Block. She is also in a singing duo called Verity and Violet, and owns her own ethical clothing company.

14. Warren Fox




Played by Jamie Lomas, this character first arrived on our screens ten years ago, and quickly became one of the soap’s scariest villains.

Now, he’s caused a social media storm after appearing on This Morning to promote his return to Hollyoaks.