'Hollyoaks' producer axes 11 more

New Hollyoaks boss Paul Marquess has culled another 11 cast members as part of the Channel 4 soap's mass shakeup, Digital Spy can exclusively reveal.

A month after his arrival, Marquess took his axe to Josh, Suzanne and Neville Ashworth - played by Sonny Flood, Suzanne Hall and Jim Millea respectively - and subsequently replaced three of the serial's leading producers in a bid to streamline the creative team.

In the coming weeks and months, a further 11 characters will be phased out, bringing the current departure total to 16.

Those on the chopping block include the entire Valentine clan - Sasha (Nathalie Emmanuelle), Lauren (Dominique Jackson) and Leo (Brian Bovell) - while Calvin (Ricky Whittle) will be written out towards the end of May at the climax of the ongoing 'Who Shot Calvin?' 'flashforward' storyline.

Kent Riley will exit for pastures new after a decade playing student Zak Ramsay, while Warren Fox's foster brother Spencer Gray will also depart the teen soap at the end of actor Darren Langford's current deal. In addition, time has been called on Stephen Beard's character Archie Carpenter.

Kevin Sacre and Melissa Walton - who play screen lovers Jake Dean and Loretta Jones - will further bow out of the programme at the close of their ongoing story arc.

Nico Mirallegro's character Barry 'Newt' Newton, meanwhile, leaves the village later in the year and relative show newcomers Dave Colburn (Elliot James Langridge) and Des Townsend (Kris Deedigan) will also be written out.

Gerard McCarthy, who plays bisexual cross-dresser Kris Fisher, recently indicated to bosses that he wanted to move on of his own accord, as he prepares to embark on a West End stint in the Arlene Phillips-choreographed Flashdance - The Musical.

The McQueen clan, however, remain untouched. Stephanie Waring - superbitch Cindy Hutchinson - signed an 18-month contract in September, taking her through to March next year.

Belfast-born Marquess is renowned for his cut-throat decisions to cull sets of characters from the shows he helms. In 2002, he took control of ITV police drama The Bill and almost immediately cut six regulars. A year later, he went on to revamp Five's Family Affairs, before it was axed in 2005.

Over the years, Marquess has also produced Brookside, Footballers' Wives and Bill spinoff M.I.T.: Murder Investigation Team.

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