The actor has agreed to reprise his popular role in the soap.

Bosses at Lime Pictures, who make the soap for Channel 4, note that viewers can expect to see John Paul back on their screens later this year.

“I’m delighted to be returning and reprising the role of John Paul, a character that I care deeply about. The cast and crew of Hollyoaks are among the loveliest and hardest working I know and I’m really looking forward to being back with them.”

Since leaving the show in 2017, James’ work has been mainly theatre-based, starring in Rope at the Hornchurch theatre, Venus Rising at the Hope Street theatre and a UK and New York tour of Caroline’s Kitchen by Original theatre.

James originally played John Paul between 2006-2008, during which the character grew in popularity thanks to his same-sex relationship with Craig Dean (Guy Burnett).

The pair’s relationship was nicknamed ‘McDean’ by fans but it petered out in 2007 when Craig departed for Dublin alone, however producer Bryan Kirkwood gave the couple a happy ending in 2008 when Burnett briefly returned to the soap for John Paul’s first exit from the soap. The ‘McDean’ saga saw many award nominations and received acclaim from LGBT rights charity Stonewall.

“John Paul McQueen, is one of the most beloved characters in Hollyoaks’ history. We are delighted to have him back, to bring some stability to the chaotic McQueen household and to be a figurehead at Hollyoaks High.” – Bryan Kirkwood, Executive Producer

John Paul as he appeared in 2007

John Paul’s relationship with Craig Dean was a hit with fans

Sutton returned to the soap in 2012 with John Paul revealed to have had a parting of the ways with Craig and to have become a father. John Paul was later subjected to homophobic abuse by his school children, and during a detention, he was raped by troubled student Finn O’Connor (Keith Rice). 

“We are over the moon to hear that our Ambassador, James Sutton, is returning to Hollyoaks as the formidable John Paul McQueen.” – Duncan Craig, Survivors Manchester

John Paul’s other storylines included being a part of the first same sex church wedding in a soap with Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson), who he stood by after finding out that he was HIV positive. The marriage ended when Ste decided to be with Sinead after she got pregnant with his child. John Paul was later surprised when his transgender boss, Sally St Claire, was revealed to be his long lost father. He left the soap in 2017 after the breakdown of his relationship with James Nightingale and it was hinted that he was to be reunited with his first love, Craig.

Sutton made a brief cameo as John Paul earlier this year, appearing from Singapore via a video call as his parents were getting married. Hollyoaks also recently announced that Keith Rice was to reprise his role as Finn O’Connor, who has been in prison since 2016 for his attack on John Paul. 

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