Stephen Beard (Archie Carpenter, 'Hollyoaks')

Living On The Edge original Stephen Beard made the transition from reality TV to soap earlier this year after landing a part on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks. Following a number of unsuccessful auditions, Stephen took the role of Zoe Carpenter's (Zoe Lister) brother Archie, whose fearless attitude and up-for-a-laugh nature is to bring some light relief to student life in Hollyoaks. Here, DS chats to Stephen about his time filming Living On The Edge, receiving 'the call' from his agent when he landed the part on Hollyoaks, and what we can expect from his character.

You're the only original Living On The Edge cast member left aren't you?
"Yeah, it's strange. I've had the cameras around for the last two years. I think the reason they put me into the second series was because I wasn't going to university like the rest of the cast and they knew I wanted to get into acting. They saw it as a great opportunity to follow me around to auditions and trying to secure parts. There originally wasn't that much filming about people following their dreams and aspirations - it was more about girls and boys and who fancied who."

Was it your decision not to go to university?
"I was always going to take a gap year anyway, with the original intention to go travelling. I did a bit of travelling in South East Asia in early summer. During my year, they asked me what I'd been doing. When I told them that I'd been trying to get into acting and I was finding it a bit of a nightmare due to my lack of experience, they suggested that I did the second series of Living On The Edge."

Was it Living On The Edge that gave you the taste for a career in television?
"I've always wanted to be an actor since I was 14 or 15. I played a lot of rugby when I was younger and then I went to boarding school. While I was there, a part came up for a play and I thought I'd give it a go. After the first night's performance, that's when I realised that I wanted to go into acting as a career."

Are you going to be in the next series, then?
"There hasn't been talk yet of a third series being produced. I think it's about February when they decide."

You come across as a bit of a player in Living On The Edge. Are you a big flirt in real life?
"What I always say to myself is that I'm 19 years old and I'm not going to settle down into a four-year relationship without experiencing life. Unfortunately, the way that it's been edited is to make me look like some kind of Lothario, which isn't the case. I've always said from the start that you don't know your favourite flavour of ice cream until you've tried them all. I'm not saying that I want to try all flavours of ice cream but hopefully I'll find a flavour that I'll settle for in the near future. Also, it's not just me going after all the girls, occasionally a girl might come after me. I hope I'd never treat a girl badly, or get rid of her in a mean way. I hope that all the girlfriends I've had in the past would say that I treated them well, with respect."

How did it feel when you received the call from your agent to say you'd got the part?
"It was so unexpected. I was filming for Living On The Edge at the time and I thought that it'd be arranged for my agent to call me while I was with my dad or some close friends. When I got the call, though, I had no idea that it'd have anything to do with the Hollyoaks casting. When she told me, I was completely shocked. It was complete excitement mixed with numbness. Inside, I was buzzing, but on the outside, I wasn't conveying that in the slightest - I was shell-shocked. I started to think at the time 'can I do this?' Actors always wanted to get a contract with a show, but when it actually happens, I think it's natural to question your ability."

How long are you with Hollyoaks for?
"I've just been offered my next six months. My first contract was six, too, so I'll be on screen until next September at least."

What can you tell us about your Hollyoaks character, Archie?
"He's definitely a wild one. People who have watched Living On The Edge may draw some comparisons. I go to a certain point in life, but Archie's definitely got bigger balls - he'll take things all the way. He's got no fear. At the same time, though, he has a sensitive side. He's like the big class clown but when he gets a knock, he really feels it. I think Archie's intended to bring a bit of light-hearted humour to the show."

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