Hollyoaks fans are in bits tonight after watching a powerful episode of the show which saw Juliet Nightingale die following a battle with cancer.
In fact, viewers have been upset for some time, after discovering that Niamh Blackshaw’s popular character was terminally ill.
It’s an emotion that Niamh understands, and one she reflects on with similar but mixed feelings.
‘It’s a complicated feeling,’ she mused in an interview with Metro.co.uk. ‘I was very open to options as to how I would leave the show, and this exit felt like a very powerful, finite story that I was excited to do.
‘But obviously I love the character deeply and I’m upset for her – we have all once in our lives grieved a fictional character!
‘I’m happy to have seen her through to the end. I believe in chapters, I think they’re so important.
‘Of course, there’s a lot that I will miss and I’m very grateful for everything I have experienced.’
One of Juliet’s most notable journeys through Hollyoaks has been her loving romance with Peri Lomax (Ruby O’Donnell), which has built up over years.
It’s one that fans have invested in with all their hearts, as has Niamh herself.
Viewers of the show have therefore been hit hard by the storyline, but Niamh has also received a lot of moving responses to the subject matter.
‘People have been very upset, but also people have shared a lot of experiences through the Ode to my Juliet campaign which has been so overwhelming, but in a bittersweet, positive way,’ she told us, adding that filming the final scene was ‘very upsetting.’
Throughout the years in the show, Juliet hasn’t just experienced the love of Peri, but been central to a major far-right storyline as well as a terrifying stalking ordeal.
So what has Niamh enjoyed the most? And what will she miss?
‘I loved being on location with Billy Price (Sid), and of course the recent Brighton shoot with Ruby and all of the fun stunts I was lucky enough to do,’ she smiled.
‘I’ll miss the crew! They create the most supportive, loving set, and they’re also the people I have spent most of my time with.
‘My on-screen family will be my family forever! I’ll stay in contact with them forever I am absolutely sure of it.’
Now that Niamh’s journey on the show is over, she plans to look out for the next exciting role, while studying part-time at Oxford University.
However, one thing she has to fit in is a very final goodbye to her alter-ego; even though she is in two minds about whether to watch the funeral.
With Juliet leaving a legacy both in the show and the hearts of her many fans, Niamh wants her to be fondly remembered as ‘fearless, brave, funny, incredibly resilient but tirelessly loved.’
There’s not much danger that that is a reality.
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