HOLLYOAKS FANS have grown up with Mandy Richardson, played by Sarah Jayne Dunn, for the past 15 years. Mandy’s had a fairly tragic life in the soap, but she’s a strong woman and viewers are still hoping she might get back together with Tony.
Sarah recently helped launch BT Vision Essential at the Ultimate TV Tower Quiz in London’s BT Tower. We caught up with her to find out what’s in store for Mandy.
You returned to Hollyoaks last autumn and have been in the show for 15 years on and off. What keeps you coming back?
I was 14 when I started there, it’s a lovely place to work and I’ve got lots of friends there. I’ve just always loved it, I love Liverpool and it’s also nice that I’ve been able to do other things while having the security of being able to go back.
Mandy’s had quite a tragic life. What’s the outlook for her now?
I like the character a lot because she’s been through so much, but she’s always pulled through the other side. It is a soap, obviously, so whether someone could actually get through everything she’s been through – I mean, most of her family are dead! But it’s nice to be able to portray the fact that it’s just made her stronger.
What do viewers love about her?
It’s so nice nowadays with Twitter to be able to get feedback from the viewers, and they do love Mandy. I think they like the older characters – they can relate to her because they’ve grown up with her. That’s why people still love her.
Do you get that feedback personally on your Twitter account?
Yeah, Twitter’s a crazy thing and it’s changed the way things are done nowadays. I really like it – it’s nice to have that one-to-one contact. If I can make someone’s day by sending them a little message, I’ll happily do that, and it’s nice to get little messages back.
What’s the story now with Mandy and Tony?
Well, there’s a possible rekindling of the romance in the not-too-distant future. It’s another reason people like the characters because they have been friends, lovers, they’ve been married, they’ve hated each other! But I think there’s always going to be a connection between the two of them, it’s one of those relationships you watch and people just want them to be together.
Is Mandy shot of bad boy Warren now?
Yeah, I think so. That was a bit of a dark phase in her life, but she learned a few lessons and discovered that she wasn’t that person. I think the relationship with Warren was lust more than anything.
What are your favourite memories?
My early days. I absolutely loved it right back at the beginning because it was all new and I was making friends and learning constantly. I think the cot death was a strong storyline between Mandy and Tony, and it was very emotional. I just thought the writers did it really well and hopefully I think myself and Nick [Pickard, who plays Tony] did it to the best of our ability.
There’s a possible rekindling of the romance in the not-too-distant future
How was it playing Sally in When Harry Met Sally on stage last year?
It was fantastic. It was a six-month UK tour starring myself and Rupert Hill who used to be in Coronation Street. I loved it; it’s such an iconic role. And that infamous scene – I never thought I’d be doing that on stage in front of thousands of people, but it was so much fun.
Did your family come and see the show?
Yeah, my dad was sat next to my boyfriend (now my fiancé), who said: “I can’t believe I had to sit next to your dad while you were doing that scene on stage!” He said neither of them could look at each other.
You also appeared in the hard-hitting BBC drama Exile. Are you hoping that might win a Bafta next year?
Fingers crossed. Exile was fantastic, that’s why it’s been nice to be able to go away from Hollyoaks and work with people like John Simm and Timothy West.
You also had a role in Batman movie The Dark Knight – how was it working on a Hollywood blockbuster?
I loved it. I filmed it in London at the Ministry of Sound [nightclub] so I didn’t go over to America. There was a Starbucks on set – that’s never happened before! It was an amazing film and I’m so proud to be able to say that I was a small part of it. I could have just shouted, “It’s Batman!” but Christian Bale really was in the zone. They say he’s a method actor and he really was Batman.
What other projects are you working on besides filming Hollyoaks?
I’m in an episode of The Real Hustle. I’m doing a bit of scamming and it’s so much fun. I don’t want to give it away, but it was great. I love that show and to be asked to be a part of it was great.
Should Mandy get back with Tony? Let us know with a comment below. And follow our TV, sport and film chit-chat at @tvfrombt on Twitter >