Richard Linnell's 'exhausting' Hollyoaks role
7 June 2018 - 10:00 AM

Richard Linnell's 'exhausting' Hollyoaks role

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ichard Linnell found it "really exhausting" acting out his "Hollyoaks" character's schizoaffective disorder for "hours on end".

The 20-year-old star's alter-ego Alfie Nightingale was admitted to hospital in last night's (06.06.18) E4 episode and diagnosed with the mental health condition after months of erratic behaviour, and Richard admitted it was so physically demanding showing how the condition was manifesting itself.

He said: "It was probably the most physical thing I've done on the show.

"The anxiety and paranoia which comes with schizoaffective disorder, tightness of breath, hunching of shoulders, changes in speech pattern and breathing, tensing up your body - doing that for hours on end was really exhausting.

"As an actor I have to physicalise the thought processes described in the script, which is the key to selling it as truthful to the audience. You almost have to make your body reverse-engineer those feelings - so if you make yourself cry you'll feel sad, and if you tense up your body you'll feel tense and anxious which helps the performance."

Before he was admitted to hospital, Alfie had to be rescued from the top of village's Archway.

Due to his condition, he thought he would survive if he jumped off the edge, but fortunately his brother James Nightingale (Gregory Finnegan) pulled him back just in time.

Richard said: "I didn't need to reverse engineer the fear - it was very high! Your body tenses up as an instinctive reaction.

"Most of the time I was stood on a platform behind the edge of the wall which you couldn't see, and I had a harness, but felt completely safe at all times thanks to our incredible crew and safety guys."

The special episode was dedicated to Alfie's mental health struggles, and Richard was pleased to be so involved off-camera as well as on-camera.

He added to RadioTimes.com: "I felt I had more input than usual, there were multiple meetings in pre-production to discuss any questions I had, they really wanted me involved which was great to have a hand in crafting it."

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