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Hollyoaks boss teases new love triangle after surprise return

Huge Hollyoaks spoilers follow from Monday's hour-long stunt episode (January 15), which is available to watch now on Channel 4 Streaming. This episode does not air on E4 until Tuesday (January 16).

Hollyoaks' co-executive producer Hannah Cheers has discussed plans for a possible new love triangle featuring Cleo McQueen, Joel Dexter and Leela Lomax.

Cleo made a surprise return in the show's hour-long stunt episode, when she was revealed to be a passenger in one of the four cars that was involved in the road disaster.

Joel was working at the scene in his role as a firefighter when he stumbled across his ex-fiancée. He was stunned when Cleo admitted that she'd returned for him.

In another shocking twist, Joel was later seriously injured himself as he continued to deal with the emergency situation. After stepping out from behind an ambulance, Joel was hit by a truck that was travelling at high speed.

leela lomax and joel dexter in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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A post-episode trailer included first-look footage of Joel in a bad way at the hospital, with Leela trying to warn off Cleo by telling her: "It's not Joel and Cleo anymore – it's Joel and Leela."

The episode also saw Jorgie Porter make her first appearance as Theresa McQueen since returning from maternity leave, while Nicole Barber-Lane reprised her role as Myra for the beginning of a guest stint.

Speaking to Digital Spy and other press, Cheers explained: "We were really excited that the occupants of one of the vehicles could be the McQueens. Jorgie Porter's return date miraculously aligned with the shooting dates for this episode, which was a bit of a gift.

"We were also very passionate about bringing back Myra and Cleo. Myra is back in the bosom of the McQueen family and hopefully that's a surprise for the audience to see in the episode. It's a really gorgeous moment.

leela lomax, theresa mcqueen and joel dexter in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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"Then we revisit one of the best love stories that we've ever told, between Joel and Cleo.

"That love story throws us forward for the year. I'm really excited for the audience to see how it unfolds over the next year and beyond."

She continued: "We love Joel, Leela and Cleo. Kirsty-Leigh [Porter, who plays Leela], Nadine [Mulkerrin, who plays Cleo] and Rory [Douglas-Speed, who plays Joel] are stunning performers and they have a really rare ability to connect to an audience in a relatable way.

joel dexter and cleo mcqueen in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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"All three of those characters are the 'every girl' and 'every boy'. It was such an amazing opportunity to take the dynamic of Joel and Leela, which has been really popular, and then of course just go: 'Boom! But what happens when the love of your life comes back?'

"That is another big headline that throws us into the next year."

Nadine Mulkerrin previously bowed out from the role of Cleo in May 2022.

Hollyoaks' hour-long stunt episode is available to watch now on Channel 4 Streaming.

Hollyoaks streams first online via Channel 4 each weekday at 7.30pm. Episodes then air on E4 the following day, before getting their YouTube premiere a week after that.

Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.

Read more Hollyoaks spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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