Blog dedicated to the actress Victoria Atkin, whos most recent role, was playing 'Jason Costello' on Hollyoaks.
Published: Thursday 11th August 2011
Jason Costello’s feelings for Bart McQueen are revisited in Hollyoaks next week when he heads off to help his friend after learning that the rebel has run out of money while on the run with girlfriend Sinead O’Connor. With Sinead unhappy over their visitor, tension rises until the feisty schoolgirl eventually storms off - leaving Jason and Bart alone to explore an abandoned farmhouse together. Things then go horribly wrong when the pair find themselves confronted by an angry farmer, who furiously points a shotgun at the teens before holding them captive in a cellar. Trapped and scared, Jason speaks candidly about his feelings for Bart - but what response will he get?
Here, Digital Spy catches up with Victoria Atkin, who plays Jason, for more details on the storyline and the latest on her character’s transgender plot.
We’ll soon see Bart make contact with Jason for help while he’s on the run. How does Jason feel about that?
“I think it’s a mix of cautiousness and excitement. Jason has been yearning for Bart as he really does miss him. However, he also knows that any time he sees Bart, he’s putting himself up for a heartbreak. In the end, though, Jason is excited to see Bart because he misses him so much.”
Does Sinead know that Jason is coming?
“No, it’s completely top secret, which Jason doesn’t know until he gets there. Bart hasn’t completely filled Jason in - he’s just asked him to bring some money, and Jason’s being a bit of a mug as he just agrees and goes along with it! However, I think it’s about more than the money for Bart - being with Sinead for so long a period has actually started to get to him, and he has missed Jason a lot. Yes, he wants the money, but it’s also an excuse to see Jason.”
We see quite a bit of tension between Jason and Sinead across next week, don’t we?
“Yes, you do - you’ll see them at each other’s throats and competing for Bart’s attention and love. But what’s coming up is really exciting, as you’ll also see both characters break down and almost beg each other to let go of Bart. Particularly Sinead - there’s a really powerful scene where she begs Jason to let Bart go, because otherwise nobody will be able to be with him. Sinead asks Jason whether he really thinks he can make Bart happy. It’s quite sad, actually - you’ll see both characters really raw. But then they go head-to-head again, and some of those rivalry scenes are really funny.”
Why do Jason and Bart end up alone without Sinead?
“Well, there’s a number of occasions where Sinead tries to storm off. She’s basically having temper tantrums, and Jason and Bart are just thinking, ‘OK, whatever’. But then she does it more and more frequently to try and get Bart’s attention. Later on, when the three of them go to a farmhouse together, that’s when she really does storm off and Jason ends up spending a decent amount of time alone with Bart.”
How do things go so wrong inside the farmhouse?
“It’s quite scary actually! It starts off as a laugh - Jason just wants to explore the farmhouse, but he and Bart end up getting much more than they bargained for. The pair of them are trespassing and they get into a lot of trouble when the farmer confronts them with a shotgun!”
Doesn’t that lead to Jason confessing his feelings for Bart?
“Yes - obviously we’ve seen Jason confess how he feels on a number of occasions, but they’ve both tried to sweep it under the carpet and now it’s brought up again after bubbling away under the surface. What’s really nice this time is that both characters end up saying how they feel. We don’t know what’s going to happen to Bart, as he gets pushed over by the farmer and hits his head. You’ll see Jason cradling him and trying to nurse him. It’s a really desperate situation - Bart looks like he’s out cold and Jason has no idea whether the two of them are going to get out. So Jason wears his heart on his sleeve and confesses how he really feels - and he doesn’t realise that Bart isn’t completely out cold and can hear him…”
What have Jonny Clarke and Stephanie Davis, who play Bart and Sinead, been like to work with on the storyline?
“Oh, they’re absolutely fantastic - I absolutely love the two of them. Steph is one of my best friends at work, she’s just an absolute legend and she’s so funny. And Jonny is an absolute joy to work with - me and him just bounce off each other and he’s very professional. It’s really good fun and there’s chemistry between the three of us to make the love triangle work.”
Many viewers really seem to have got behind the idea of Jason and Bart as a couple, haven’t they?
“Yeah, and I’m so grateful for the support of it. Whatever the circumstances, I think most people can relate to love storylines or love triangles, and I think that’s really helping. Jason is just like any other person in society - he does have feelings, he does fall in love and he does want the same things as everybody else.”
Do you think Jason and Bart would work well as a couple?
“I think they would, but I think they would struggle in society. Their love is extremely strong and if it was just the two of them on the earth, they’d be fine! But they’re facing a lot of pressure. I think the story is a great thing to show the audience - it’s dealing with how you can’t just focus on the outer skin and you’ve got to look a bit further than that. The story does show that and I think it’s lovely. If Bart and Jason really tried, I think it’d be nice to show them just getting on with it and not caring what people think at work, school, college or whatever. I think things could blossom between them - but there’ll always be trouble!”
Are there any more developments ahead for the transgender aspect of Jason’s storyline?
“Yes. Later on in the year, we’ve got Jason’s desire to start with hormone blockers and testosterone, so we’ll see that. I’ve also just got a chest binder for the character - he’ll be using that rather than bandaging and we’ll see that when Jason suits and boots himself up for a very special forthcoming event that I’m not allowed to talk about yet! And we’ve also got Jason coming out as gay to his family coming up, and that’s really exciting.”
From what we’ve seen on Twitter, you’re still doing a lot of research for the storyline…
“I am - I’ve said a number of times that I’m blessed to have a role on a soap that is such a continuous process. It’s continuous research and I’m learning many different things about the transition process and what female to male trans people would go through. And it is a lengthy process - I was starting to get frustrated myself, but that is what they endure. There’s a long wait for appointments and things like that, so I think it’s good that Hollyoaks are reflecting that and they’re using the correct duration.”
Have you been able to meet many people who’ve been in the same position as Jason?
“Well, recently I was fortunate enough to go to Downing Street for a conference about homophobia in sport, so they had a lot of LGBT role models and celebrities who are in the public eye there. I’ve also been able to meet quite a few people who’ve been in Jason’s position on the back of the Trans Media Watch conference, which was really good at Channel 4. I went to Gay Pride too and met loads of trans people there, so I’ve been really fortunate and I’ve also said on Twitter to send any trans stories my way, as it’s all really helpful.”
Is the story getting positive feedback from real-life transgender people?
“Yeah - I think we are doing it justice from the feedback that we’ve had. I think a lot of trans people are just excited to have the character on screen - someone who they can relate to and showing them in a community like Hollyoaks, where you’ve got a variety of different characters. I think it’s great that Hollyoaks and Channel 4 are really pushing that.”
Did you have any reservations when you first heard what your Hollyoaks role would entail?
“To be completely honest, yes, I did have my reservations but as a very passionate actress I thought, ‘Do you know what? I couldn’t be blessed with a better role’. It’s an exciting, dramatic, gritty role and I’m very grateful to Hollyoaks and Channel 4 for allowing me to explore my acting abilities within that.”
On a different note, the story of Jason’s killer grandfather Silas really seems to be picking up the pace now…
“Jeff Rawle is fantastic and it’s definitely coming to a head soon! But at the moment, Jason is completely oblivious and thinks the sun shines out of him! Jason thinks his granddad is amazing and can do no wrong. He’s going to be completely devastated when he finds out…”
Will Jason be joining the new Hollyoaks sixth form college in the autumn?
“Yes! We’ve started filming it and Jason has joined the college with Seth. I’ve been working with all of the new college people and they’re fantastic - a great bunch of actors. It’s great to mix Jason in with that - you’ll see them together in the sixth form college room and that kind of thing.”
Among the new families for Hollyoaks, the Costellos seem to have stood out as the most successful. Why do you think they’ve worked so well?
“I think the Costellos are successful because they show the audience a conventional, although dysfunctional, family environment. You’ve got the mum, you’ve got the dad, you’ve got the three kids and we see how they all live together in their house. We’re also very lucky to have such a nicely-designed set! We all love working together and it’s so nice to see the different things that progress. As a family, I think we all bring a different energy to it and we’ve got the balance right. Hollyoaks also shows how everything affects the younger characters in the family, and I think the audience really connects with that.”