Kieron Richardson reveals that lives will be on the line next week when his character, Ste Hay, finds himself caught up in a terrifying far right plot
For months viewers have seen Ste Hay, played by actor Kieron Richardson, being manipulated and groomed by far right activists Jonny Baxter (Ray Quinn) and Stuart Sumner (Chris Simmons) in Hollyoaks.
As Stuart and Jonny’s plotting ramps up, events are poised to take a very ugly and dangerous turn next week as they plan their latest attack and their hate campagin against their neighbours, the Maalik family, sprials out of control.
Here Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson recalls how Ste’s involvement began and talks about the storyline that will send shock waves through the village as lives are on the line…..
Where did Ste’s hatred for the Maaliks begin?
Kieron Richardson: “It first began during the storm week episodes last year. Ste called Misbah over to help save Tegan’s life, unaware that Misbah had broken her hand. Misbah knew that her hand was broken so she shouldn’t have operated on Tegan so in his eyes that’s the reason that Tegan died. Later, Imran was trying to protect his mother and he accidentally blew up Ste’s business. Ste couldn’t make money anymore and couldn’t provide for his kids so he had a big grievance towards the family in general.”
Why did far right activist Jonny Baxter first prey on Ste?
KR: “Jonny was walking past the hospital and spotted Tony Hutchinson and Ste having an argument and realised that they were arguing about Misbah. Ste then did this big protest to get Misbah sacked from the hospital so Jonny preyed on him whilst he was vulnerable and that’s why Ste became the chosen one.”
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Why did Ste start putting Jonny and Stuart ahead of his family?
KR: “Ste felt like he couldn’t cope or operate day to day life without this new friendship, which was part of the grooming process. Jonny and Stuart were giving him a place to live, and they gave him a job, so he was being able to provide for his family. They became the puppeteers of everything that he was doing on a day to day basis.”
How was Ste welcomed in to their organisation?
KR: “The initiation process in the organisation was Ste getting the tattoo, which means that you are now bound with this brotherhood forever. It is a family, they are going to protect you and you are going to do everything they say. There’s some stuff coming up in the future where you will see Jonny and Stuart question if Ste really cares about this group and Ste keeps pointing to the tattoo saying, yes this is who I am and this tattoo means I am in the brotherhood for life.”
When did his campaigning take a violent turn?
KR: “When Amir came in to it to try and protect his brother Shahid, who had been attacked by Jonny in the special episode back in April. Jonny, Stuart and their friends kind of threw Ste towards Amir’s bike with a baseball bat, saying, if you’re a part of this group, show us. He had to attack the bike as a test. The group videoed it and have it as evidence so if Ste ever wanted to leave the group.”
Has he ever been offered a way out of the group?
KR: “A former member of the group, Jed, tried to help Ste get out of it but Ste is so far down this rabbit hole now that Jed unfortunately couldn’t help him, it’s only Ste that can help himself. He’s got to be the one that makes the decision. Even though Jed’s tried to steer him in to the right direction, ultimately he has to hit rock bottom for him to get himself out.”
Has it affected his relationship with his children, Leah, Lucas and Hannah?
KR: “Yes massively because they are nearly none existent in his life at the minute. Especially Hannah, who is not allowed to go anywhere near him as Sinead has put a stop to that. From someone who used to do everything he could to protect his kids, he has ultimately pushed his kids away.”
Has Ste had any doubts along the way?
KR: “I think so, he’s questioned the racial tones of it. I thought we were supposed to be about bringing people together not pushing people away. He desperately wants to please these guys and have this friendship with them, so he just ends up going along with it.”
Does Ste know about Jonny and Stuart’s plan that unfolds next week?
KR: “Ste loosely knows that something is happening and there has been lots of talk about action and doing something massive. However, the moment that Ste realises that lives are in jeopardy here and every life is important, Ste has to put a stop to it, especially because his friends and family are in the firing line for this one.”
Why can’t Ste leave the organisation?
KR: “They have loads of evidence stacked up against him, including him smashing up Amir’s bike, and all the online stuff, him beating up Jed, and the threat on his family. Ultimately, he wants to keep his family safe and he knows that if he was to just walk Stuart and Jonny could put his own family in danger.”
Next week, how does he feel at the family day?
KR: “He’s not used to public speaking and having all of his friends around him, so he feels quite empowered after doing the speech. He probably doesn’t realise the words that he’s saying, he’s just doing it and going along with it. When he starts getting cheers and people wanting to take selfies with him he’s like, well this is actually quite good maybe I am doing a good thing.”
Hollyoaks is shown weekdays on C4 at 6.30pm with the next episode following on E4