John Paul McQueen is a fictional character in the long-running British Channel 4 television Soap opera Hollyoaks, and is played by actor James Sutton. The character made his début in 2006; his storylines have significantly revolved around his sexuality; evolving from the initial denial of his homosexuality, to the pursuit and relations with best friend Craig Dean and former priest Kieron Hobbs.
John Paul McQueen was created in 2006; backstory given to the character is that he grew up with 5 sisters, his mum, and no father. He is characterised as smart, witty, and not afraid to stand up for himself and his beliefs. Sutton described his portrayal of John Paul's personality as different and similar to his own. "He’s very, very quick to take offense sometimes," Sutton relayed. "He’s a bit up and down, so that’s a side of him I’m not too keen on, but he’s also very sensitive and loving and he cares a lot about his family and his friends and that side of it is very true to me as well and that’s kind of what I kind of brought to the table." Sutton stated that he had no trouble portraying a gay character because he had "spent a good part of [his] youth [in the theater] and there were a lot of openly gay men".
When detailing insight he gained about the gay community while portraying John Paul, Sutton stated, "My character was straight when I first started so I had to do the whole sort of questioning your sexuality and finding out who you are and what you’re about and what your likes are and what your sexual preferences are, so I got a real insight from the storyline and just how hard it is." Sutton cited that John Paul "was very, very lucky in that his family were pretty much all supportive". Further detailing his character's personality and how he did not want John Paul to be a gay stereotype, Sutton revealed, "I was very, very keen to make this character a straight-acting gay man. He’s just a normal guy, like any other guy. He plays football. He likes music. He likes going out. He likes all the same things that straight men like. He just happens to like blokes, and that’s it." It was a joint effort by the writers and Sutton to characterise the character this way. "We kind of met in the middle and that was the path we wanted to go down," stated Sutton. "I think it was really important for people to see because, like I say, even now, especially older generations, often in my mind view the stereotype of the gay man as this kind of screaming queen with glitter and all that kind of … feather boas and glitter and you know, Danny La Rue."
In 2008, Sutton decided to leave the role of John Paul, stating that it was not an easy decision to make. "I’m twenty-five-years old and I’ve done this character for two years now," he cited, "and I feel like I’ve made my mark and I’ve got to get off my soapbox now. I kind of feel like I’m ready to take a risk before I hit 30 and realize that actually I’ve missed my opportunity. A calculated risk."
When John Paul first arrives in Hollyoaks, he is a popular, athletic student. At school, he meets Craig Dean; his first scenes involve saving Craig from a beating by bully Sonny Valentine; John Paul pulls the fire alarm, and this causes John Paul and Craig to become close friends. John Paul does not get along with Sonny.
With some pressure from Craig, John Paul begins dating schoolmate Hannah Ashworth, and, somewhat reluctantly on John Paul's part, the pair eventually end up sleeping together. However, they split up when John Paul reveals that he is harbouring affections for someone else, which is mistakenly believed to be Craig's girlfriend, Sarah Barnes. Though John Paul and Hannah reconcile and become a romantic pairing once more, their romantic relationship soon comes to an end for good.
After John Paul struggles for some time with the truth that he is gay, it is eventually revealed that he has romantic feelings for Craig. John Paul initially tries to hide his feelings for Craig and has sex with girlfriend Hannah again. At her 18th birthday party, he breaks up a fight between Craig and Rhys Ashworth when Craig sees Sarah kissing Rhys, and shouts that she is not good enough for Craig. He runs outside in tears and when Craig confronts him, John Paul confesses that he is in love with him.
On reflection, John Paul is horrified at what he has confessed, and tells Craig that he is sorry and will leave him alone. Craig, however, refutes this idea, telling him that he is the best friend he has ever had and does not want that friendship to end. John Paul and Craig share a drunken kiss at a school dance-off competition which is seen by Hannah, who, in shock, tells everyone at the dance. The next day, Hannah goes to confront John Paul, and he tells her that he is gay and is in love with Craig; the drunken kiss has the added side effect of temporarily ending Craig and Sarah's relationship. John Paul comes out to his family, receiving support from all of his sisters, except Mercedes (who accuses him of trying to steal her boyfriend) and Michaela (who is worried about her reputation at school), and reluctant support from his mother.
After a confrontation with Sonny over his sexuality, John Paul comes out to his classmates and informs them that if they have a problem with his sexuality, they can take it up with him. However, following this event, during a 5-a-side football practice with Sonny and Craig, John Paul is teased and bullied by Craig, who eventually attacks John Paul physically. John Paul punches Craig, and, after a violent threat to anyone else who wishes to bully him, runs off. Later, Craig feels remorse for how he treated John Paul and wants to talk it through with him. John Paul makes it clear that Craig is no longer his friend and does not accept his apology.
In early 2007, John Paul embarks on a relationship with Spike, a DJ whom he met during his sister Jacqui's wedding reception. However, Hannah, still believing herself to be in love with John Paul, purposefully sabotages the pairing's first date (which takes place at the Dog). Spike and John Paul share their first kiss after a DJ competition in The Dog and gradually, in spite of John Paul's fears, their relationship becomes sexual, as well as being strengthened by Spike meeting (and getting along well with) John Paul's family. However, John Paul and Spike's relationship is the source of much jealousy from Craig, who immediately takes a disliking to Spike and grows furious when John Paul tries to speak about his fears about having sex with Spike.
Romance with CraigEdit
During his exams in May 2007, Craig has trouble concentrating, as all he can think about is John Paul and Spike. Storming out of the exam, he goes to John Paul's house. After talking with each other, Craig frustrated and in tears, they reveal their true feelings and sleep together. Afterwards, however, Craig gets out of bed and shouts homophobic obscenities before storming out. Subsequently, Craig's relationship with Sarah begins to deteriorate, as Craig struggles with his apparent homosexual tendencies. Unwilling to "come out", Craig concludes that he is not gay, stating instead that he only has romantic feelings for John Paul rather than actually being gay or bisexual. Craig negotiates an uneasy few months with Sarah, a situation further exacerbated by Sarah's modeling career, a source of even more jealousy from Craig.
John Paul eventually tells Craig to leave Sarah, and in turn he promises to leave Spike. Whilst John Paul and Spike break up, Craig and Sarah do not, leaving John Paul furious and frustrated. Craig then arranges a last minute get-away for Sarah, without telling John Paul. Angry and upset, John Paul writes a letter to Frankie Osborne saying that he has been sleeping with her son and that he is sorry that she had to hear about it from him. Later, once he has calmed down and realises his mistake, he manages to retrieve it with Spike's help. Despite no longer being a couple, Spike still offers John Paul something more causal, but John Paul quickly realises he no longer has romantic feelings for Spike (despite Craig's betrayal) and tells him it is over for good. When Craig returns from his holiday, and tells John Paul that he still has romantic feelings for him, John Paul snaps back that he has had enough and intends to end it with Craig for good. Despite this, they soon got back together again and the relationship continues in secret.When Spike finds out about John Paul and Craig's secret relationship, he teases and mocks Craig about it. When Craig confronts him, Sarah overhears and thinks he is having an affair. In an attempt to convince her that he loves her, Craig proposes marriage to Sarah, asking her to keep the engagement a secret. Throughout his engagement, Craig continues to see John Paul (who knows nothing of the engagement) and gives him a watch that once belonged to his grandfather. Once John Paul learns of Craig and Sarah's engagement, he becomes convinced that Craig will never leave Sarah for him. At an impromptu engagement party thrown by Frankie, John Paul and Craig hide upstairs and begin to be intimate. Secretly, John Paul texts Sarah on Craig's phone and tells her to come upstairs. She leaves the party and walks in on the two of them kissing. Completely in shock, Sarah runs downstairs and outs Craig to the party-goers, leaving John Paul to face the wrath of the Dean family and Mike Barnes. He later tries to apologise to Sarah, who demands to know the details of the affair. After telling her, Sarah says that she can never forgive him. John Paul calls Craig a coward for not accepting his sexuality.
Frankie and Sarah make attempts to reconcile the relationship, but it is no use as Craig finally announces to his family that he is in love with John Paul. Craig's announcement leads to a show-down style confrontation between the McQueen family and the Dean family, from which John Paul and Craig run away and discuss their feelings for each other. Craig tells John Paul that he loves him, but denies being gay, saying that it is not about being gay, it is about who you fall in love with; before asking John Paul to come with him to Dublin, an offer which John Paul accepts. As they prepare to leave together, Craig admitts to his brother, Jake, that he is not gay, and he only cares for John Paul. John Paul overhears this and expresses more concern at Craig's reluctance to come out; this is further exacerbated by Craig not being able to bring himself to kiss or hold John Paul at the airport as they wait for the plane to Dublin. Although John Paul loves Craig, he realises that he needs more than to be with a man who cannot even display affection towards him in public. Heartbroken, John Paul returns home, leaving Craig to go to Dublin alone. On Christmas day 2007, John Paul gets a text from Craig, wishing him a Merry Christmas, asking him to visit Dublin sometime and that he misses him.
Despite turning the place down originally so that he could go to Dublin with Craig, John Paul decides to enroll at HCC. He soon becomes friends with Katy Fox, whom he accompanied to the Fresher's Ball, and Summer Shaw after a pair of knickers fall out of her bag and he returns them to her. While studying in the SU bar, John Paul catches the eye of Jay, who is visiting from Birmingham. After some convincing from Summer, John Paul decides to talk with him. They have an immediate connection and Jay goes back to John Paul's. However, they walk in on Tina and Dom in his bed; at the same time, Myra walks in, adding to everyone's embarrassment, and causing Jay to leave. John Paul accuses Myra of being too possessive and always expecting more from him, yet he is only doing and acting in the same way as his sisters. He decides to move out, and after bumping into Jessica Harris at college, moves into Elliot's room in the halls until he returns from the Nevada desert in America.
John Paul has a brush with death during his flat warming party. A carbon monoxide leak from the faulty boiler renders John Paul and the other revellers unconscious. Fortunately, he is saved by Danny Valentine, Mercedes and Justin. John Paul is later forced to move back into his family home when Elliot unexpectedly comes home and claims his room back, which Jess has been sub-letting to John Paul illegally. But John Paul and Elliot become friends following the event, and conspire to disrupt Kris Fisher's radio show after he gives out some advice to a sexually confused teenager, which John Paul disagrees with. Following a few "pirate radio"-style disruptions, John Paul decides to call it a day before they get caught. However, Elliot almost tells Kris and Sarah that he is responsible for the disruptions, before John Paul takes the credit to save Elliot. A drunken Sarah then blasts John Paul for his lies and "turning [Craig] gay", re-iterating how much she hates him.
In early 2008, Myra McQueen offers her home to the Hollyoaks new young Catholic Priest, Father Kieron Hobbs, and gives John Paul's room to him without consultation. John Paul meets Robin, a friend of Zak Ramsey's. Once it has been revealed that Robin is also gay, and John Paul has built up the courage to ask him out, they decide to go on a date together. During the date Kieron sees Robin and John Paul kissing in the toilets at the SU bar. Later, John Paul asks him to keep quiet and not tell Myra, which he agrees to, but she later finds out when Robin starts arguing with Kieron about his relationship with John Paul. Myra confronts John Paul, and John Paul erroneously blames Kieron. When Kieron voices his concerns that Robin is flirting with other men behind John Paul's back, John Paul takes this to mean that Kieron is homophobe. After John Paul finds Robin flirting with other men, he goes home and tells Kieron about it. He says that Kieron would never understand how he feels, leading Kieron to come clean and admit to John Paul that he is gay, too.
John Paul insists Kieron tell Myra the truth or he will, which Kieron flatly refuses on the basis of it potentially damaging his reputation as a priest. He accuses John Paul of being self-involved, saying that John Paul is a teenage boy who had his own issues. Kieron has made his own choice. Kieron defends his beliefs and informs John Paul of his celibacy. As Kieron prepares to move out, John Paul apologises and convinces him to stay with them.
During the SU Bar's Charity Fashion Show, some of the male models call in sick, and Carmel convinces Kieron to model, which he agrees to under the condition that John Paul models as well. But unknown to all, a gun siege is taking place at the Dog in the Pond. When the village finds out, the fashion show is cancelled, leaving John Paul and Kieron to clean up. They reward themselves by helping themselves to some beer they found, and as the beer flows, they start to enjoy each other's company more. Drunk, Kieron admits to finding John Paul smart and funny, leading them to share an unexpected kiss, only to be interrupted by a student entering the bar, leaving both men embarrassed. The kiss, however, does not undermine their growing friendship. The day after, they stay at home and play truth or dare, resulting in John Paul going to buy bottles of beer in just his underwear at Drive N Buy.
In March 2008, John Paul attempts to establish an LGBT society at Hollyoaks College and in a bet, kisses the nearest boy, who ends up stalking John Paul until he lies to get rid of him. During this time, John Paul also texts Kieron to ask him when he is coming back. Kris and Hannah are intrigued by John Paul's new love interest, and joked about it in front of Kieron; Hannah later tells him that John Paul had spoken highly of him. Thinking that John Paul is telling everyone about their relationship, he asks him not to mention him to his friends again.
After finding Kieron baptising Charlie Dean, he feels that Kieron has a duty to God, that matters more to him than their relationship. John Paul confronts Kieron with his feelings on the matter, and unexpectedly, Kieron expresses his deep feelings to John Paul; in turn, John Paul says that he is frustrated and asks Kieron to go find someone else, but Kieron refuses to acknowledge John Paul's rejection and John Paul walks off, confused.
In late March 2008, Kieron and John Paul, along with Russ, Dom and Kris, participate in the village fun run. After they complete the run they go to the bar for a drink. John Paul leaves for home after being frustrated about the lack of attention Kieron is giving him. Later on, Kieron returns home. This follows with a heated discussion between the two, which ends in a passionate kiss. Some time following, after sleeping together, Kieron leaves John Paul and goes to admit what he has done to Kris; John Paul goes to talk to Hannah, but does not say who it is he has slept with.
The day after he sleeps with Kieron, John Paul tells Kieron that he does not want to pursue a relationship with him, because he does not love him as much as he loved Craig Dean and the relationship is not worth the risk of being an outcast again. Kieron becomes angry that John Paul told him this after he broke his vow of celibacy and moves out of the McQueen household and into Niall Rafferty's flat.
After some time avoiding each other, John Paul and Kieron are forced to work together in the pub quiz at the Dog, during which Kieron saves John Paul from humiliation in front of the whole Pub. John Paul talks with Kris. After some stern advice, John Paul finally confronts Kieron and tells him he cannot stop thinking about him. After an initial blunder, John Paul and Kieron come to an understanding of the relationship's special situation due to Kieron being a priest, and begin to see each other in secret.
In mid May 2008, John Paul and Kieron are nearly caught by Myra when petting in the McQueen residence. Despite this, Kieron later says that he is the happiest he has ever been with John Paul. Just days later, the couple go back to Niall's flat, believing that Niall would be out, only to be discovered by Steph and Niall. Steph and Nial agree to keep the relationship a secret, with Steph pointing to her earlier support for John Paul and Craig as proof of her trustworthiness.
John Paul and Mercedes begin arguing over Kieron in sibling rivalry; John Paul tells Mercedes that he and the Priest have had sex. However, Kieron has overheard the conversation and abruptly ends the relationship. The next day John Paul tries to make amends for his actions but Kieron, though no longer angry, feels that he must choose between the Church and John Paul, and chooses the Church. Michaela overhears this conversation between John Paul and Kieron, and has tape-recorded it. She had been sent to Kieron's flat by Niall, who knew that she would find Kieron and John Paul talking there. She later sees Kieron talking to Kris and misconstrues this conversation as she thinks Kieron is cheating on John Paul with Kris. She wants to tell John Paul, but after he brushes her off, she writes an article for the Chester Herald on the Catholic Priest "two-timing" a teenage boy with a crosdressing bisexual. The following day, John Paul is sorry for snapping at Michaela and after he apologizes, she retracts the article. In the mean time, however, their other sister Mercedes - who thinks Kieron has been cheating on John Paul - calls him a hypocrite and hits him. John Paul, after hearing all that has happened, thinks he has lost Kieron, especially when Kieron shows up at the McQueens sporting a black eye. Unexpectedly, though, Kieron tells John Paul that he is not angry, that John Paul means everything to him and that he loves John Paul more than he loves the Church, and that he is willing to take the risk.
John Paul and Kieron become an official romantic couple, and John Paul wants to tell his mother about their relationship. After drinking in some courage at SUBar, he heads home to tell her. But Myra confides in Father Kieron, still unaware of his relationship with her son, that she has given birth to a baby boy when she was 14 and given him up for adoption at birth by abandoning him at a Catholic church on the behest of her mother. Unbeknownst to anyone, this secret older McQueen brother is in fact Niall - who has been plotting to drive the McQueens apart and will use his knowledge of the secret relationship between Kieron and John Paul to separate John Paul from his family.
John Paul and Kieron meet outside the McQueen residence by chance, just after Myra's confession, and Kieron (unable to tell John Paul what Myra told him) convinces him that this is not the right moment to tell his mum about their relationship. A few weeks later, Niall convinces Myra to get the vows for Steph and Max's wedding, that Kieron "left" at home (Niall stole them from his jacket). Myra finds the vows next to a note from Kieron to John Paul. When John Paul enters Kieron's bedroom, fresh from the shower, she puts two and two together. Unable to speak to him, she rushes off to the church but John Paul follows her. In the middle of the wedding, unable to keep still any longer, Myra gets up, accuses Kieron of being a hypocrite and announces to the whole church that Kieron has been sleeping with her son. John Paul rushes home after his mum, trying to explain, while Kieron is in shock and does not know whether he can go on with the wedding. However, Kieron decides to finish the service after Steph, Max and O.B. ask him to. Myra tells John Paul that he is not her son if he carries on with Kieron; John Paul then leaves the McQueen house turning up at Kieron's (and Niall's) flat with bags.
After Tina gives birth to baby Max in dangerous circumstances, Niall convinces Kieron to leave Hollyoaks before he does any more damage to their family. He does temporarily, but returns a week later and is reunited with John Paul. Kieron then surrenders his position as a priest. At the naming ceremony for baby Max, Myra finally begins to warm to the idea of John Paul and Kieron's relationship, and invites Kieron to the party. An argument, however, between Mercedes and Russ over their divorce puts him in an uncomfortable position, and he leaves shortly afterwards.
John Paul, recognising the huge sacrifices Kieron has made to be with him, asks Kieron to marry him, and after a moment of surprise, Kieron accepts.
When Craig Dean returns on 2nd September 2008, Keiron witnesses them hugging outside the Dog. Believing John Paul still has feelings for Craig, he breaks off their relationship. After Niall poisons Kieron, John Paul finds him and calls an ambulance, but it is already too late. John Paul is later seen sobbing as Kieron is zipped up into a body bag.
Craig's return and leaving HollyoaksEdit
On 2 September 2008, Craig returns resurfacing John Paul's romantic feelings for him. Kieron is left angry after confronting John Paul. On 5 September, after a slight confrontation, John Paul admits to Craig he still loves him, and Craig tells him he could never move on with girls in Dublin because John Paul was always on his mind and he always loved him. They sleep with one another shortly after.
Afterwards, John Paul gets a text from Kieron (actually sent by Niall), saying 'I'm Sorry, love you forever Kx' . John Paul goes over to the flat and finds Kieron dead. He sobs as he watches Kieron's lifeless body zipped into a body bag.
Shortly after Kieron's death, Craig presents John Paul with a one-way ticket to Dublin with him, leaving JP to make the difficult decision whether to stay in Hollyoaks in respect to Kieron or leave with Craig and continue their relationship.
John Paul and Niall talk about Niall's problems with Steph and John Paul's dilemma with Craig and handling Kieron's death. Meanwhile Craig has left a voicemail message on JP's phone asking him to meet him outside The Dog and give him his decision on whether he'll leave with Craig or not. Niall gets to JP's phone while he's in another room and deletes the message. While talking about their problems, JP tells Niall he's going to go and meet Craig and tell him that he still loves him. Niall persuades JP to have a drink first and employs the same tactic as he used on Kieron and pours pills into JP's beer.
John Paul falls asleep for a short while and when he wakes feels weak, but he still decides to meet Craig. Niall gets up to stop him but finds himself feeling dizzy, it turns out that JP had accidently spilt Niall's beer and replaced it with his unintentionally drugging Niall. Niall makes JP leave quickly while he runs to the bathroom to vomit.
John Paul runs to The Dog with his bag and misses Craig by half an hour. He returns home and asks his mother what Kieron would have done. She says the he should never regret not doing something and this causes him to rush to the train station where Craig is getting the train to the Airport. JP makes it to the platform just as the train is leaving, but looks across the platforms and sees Craig at another platform. They rush into an embrace and JP tells Craig he loves him but can't be treated the same as the last time. Craig kisses him mid-sentence in front of everyone on the platform showing JP he doesn't care who knows he loves him. John Paul and Craig board the train hand in hand. While the train leaves Craig tells JP that when they get to Dublin, JP must tell everyone he is Craig's cousin Steve. JP looks at Craig in exasperation and Craig smiles, tells him he was joking and they ride the train away while cuddling with each other.
AfterElton.com stated that when they did a poll of their readers in 2007 for The 25 Best Gay Characters on Television, John Paul came in at #21. Sutton had not known about the poll, and when told of it stated, "Wow. That’s really cool. I don’t tend to read too much press and stuff, but I mean I’m aware that we’ve sold the program to other countries and surfing through the Internet, I’m aware that there are people who really, really watch it. I mean I’ve heard from the States and there’s a couple of people who are in the Far East, actually, who regularly post on forums about me and stuff. And that’s just incredible."
Sutton's pairing with actor Guy Burnet, as John Paul and Craig, has also been successful, winning several LGBT awards. Sutton stated that he had spoken to young gay men and had e-mail conversations with people about his character and that it "really" opened his eyes to how difficult it can be and that "there is still prejudice out there and there are still people who are living this." He added, "We call it Middle England way out here. I don’t know what you call it," a reference to Middle America.
When asked how popular his John Paul character is in the UK, Sutton relayed, "It’s incredibly, incredibly popular over here, the show. We broadcast an omnibus edition Sunday morning, which every student watches. Right now we’re on five nights a week and it’s an incredibly popular show, especially with young people." Sutton stated that the reaction he and the cast get is "sometimes a bit frightening, but it’s really, really big business". Detaling how recognized he is when walking down the streets of Liverpool or London, Sutton revealed, "Oh, pretty recognizable. Pretty recognizable. My girlfriend gets it worse than I do, actually. She gets pushed out of the way by people trying to get to me sometimes. She’s my girlfriend and my official photographer. All these f**king cameras – pardon my language – these camera phones that people have right now. The bane of my existence."
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 Jensen, Michael. "Interview with James Sutton", AfterElton.com, 2008-07-08. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
- ↑ Cooper, Lorna. "John Paul Quits Hollyoaks", MSN, 2008. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
- ↑ JPMQ (2007-07-20). John Paul's letter to Frankie transcribed. Retrieved on 2008-03-08.
- ↑ Green, Kris. "'Hollyoaks' honoured at Stonewall Awards", Digital Spy, 2007-11-03. Retrieved on 2008-08-17.
- ↑ Green, Kris. "EXCLUSIVE: Craig Dean returns to 'Hollyoaks'", Digital Spy, 2008-06-09. Retrieved on 2008-08-19.
- John Paul McQueen on the Hollyoaks website
- Green, Kris. "Gay relationship for Hollyoaks' John Paul and Craig", DigitalSpy, 2007-03-07. Retrieved on 2007-03-07.