RIP Stephanie De La Dean

25 May

(Originally posted 11/11/10)

R.I.P Stephanie De La Dean/Cunningham/Roache(?). I’ll miss your dubious epilepsy and convenient character changes.

Truth be told, I haven’t watched Hollyoaks properly for about two years; mainly due to ex-exec producer Lucy Allan bringing it to its knees. I made special exceptions for when Sarah Barnes went splat and when the glorious Clare Devine returned, but for entirely different reasons. If i’m honest, the only reason I tuned in last night was because I accidently tripped over the spoiler that Steph had met her maker in the Il Gnosh fire. I loved Steph.

Carly Stenson and Ashley Taylor Dawson (Darren) have over the years performed the acting equivalent of parting the Red Sea with some of the most utter dross ever thrown at a TV screen and been called a script. Fittingly, it took Darren to appear last night to actually get my emotional juices flowing as he realised Steph was gone. Gilly had been crying for about 50 minutes by this point and I was still dry as a bone. Anyway, these two are two of the longest serving residents of the ‘Oaks and were/are firm favourites of mine.

Even though the Steph who tragically commited herself to the flames last night was an entirely different one to the Uber-Bitch-that-everyone-hates-and-she-hates-them-back of old-school ‘Oaks, its still nice that such a throwaway soap as Hollyoaks can still maintain some form of character.

Well, sort of. Let’s consider some of Steph’s finest moments:

-Uber Bitch is a bit of a bully at school but is still acres more likeable than Lee Hunter.
-Uber Bitch gets blungeoned over the head by THE GREAT HOLLYOAKS SERIAL KILLER OF 2000 AND SOMETHING with a spanner. (God knows how God-awful Lisa Hunter got away scott-free. She’d be first on my hitlist. Plus, i’d use a crow-bar – s’got more of an edge. Anyway…)
-Uber Bitch gets epilepsy.
-Uber Bitch goes a bit mental at some sort of drama performance thing she was doing in a disturbing but still completely stupid Hollyoaks Later/After Dark/Goes Wild/With Extra Swearing And Boobs or whatever it was called in them days. (Apparently this was her being ‘possessed’ by one of the Serial Killer’s victims which, in hindsight, is a relief in that Hollyoaks didn’t just get their epilepsy research a bit wrong.)
-Uber Bitch throws herself in a river and drowns. Cue generic other Hollyoaks characters fishing her out and pronouncing her dead. Credits Roll.
-Post credits scene- Oh no, she’s fine, what a relief etc etc. (What a waste of my time.)
-Steph does it with a Footballer who can’t act for shit. She flogs the story to a newspaper after sound advice from her manager and sort of brother but creepily amazing sort of boyfriend, Darren. Stephanie De La Dean is born.
– Some other stuff I can’t remember. Steph’s desperate to be famous and is also really fit.
– Steph somehow, (the producers told her to) falls in love with Max.
– Max is mown down by resident Psycho, sudden car-owner and inappropriately named Niall ‘Secret’ Mcqueen.
– Steph sings ‘About You Now’ at Max’s funeral. Heartbreaking. (Darren’s face in the church as she announces this is 100% comedy gold. I think this expression is the best 1 second in Hollyoaks history. YouTube it. It’s worth it.)
– Steph is given custody of Child Curse Tom- over his actual sisters Mandy and Cindy for reasons known only to the Hollyoaks writers. (To be fair, Mandy seemed to have a habit of losing her own child around this time so the decision was probably appropriate.)
– Steph becomes nice Mummy Steph.
– Steph gets electrocuted or struck by lightning or something which OBVIOUSLY DURRRR brings on her epilepsy. (?!)
– Steph nearly gets chucked off a cliff by Psycho Niall. Unfortunately, Craig and Tom also miss the plunge.
– (Some other stuff happens in which she apparently marries Gilly(?!) coz the producers told her to, but I stopped watching at this point due to Lucy Allan’s destruction of Clare Devine, but that’s not for here….)
– Steph gets cancer. She saves Amy and her semi-invisible children from a fire. Despite having a clear exit, she chooses to stay behind; choosing to die now rather than have to go through the pain of the cancer.

This is no way a criticism of Hollyoaks by the way, the ridiculousness is why I love it. In essence it completely misses the point to analyse it in any way at all. As someone once wisely wrote on a Hollyoaks forum I shamelessly read and frequently lolled at, ‘Hollyoaks doesn’t care about continuity and neither should you.’

So here’s to Stephanie De La Dean! She may have had a horrible, horrible life but at least she never got raped, or even worse, had to do it with Tony.


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