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Who Shot Mercedes?! Interview with Gregory Finnegan

What is James’ motivation for shooting Mercedes?

So, James’ motive for shooting Mercedes is that he blames her for pretty much everything bad that has happened to him and to his ex-boyfriend, Harry over the past few months. He has discovered about the hit and run that Mercedes framed Harry for and he believes that she has silenced Harry and killed him to make sure that the true story doesn’t come out, so James is hell bent on revenge, or is he?

James is on a down-ward spiral at the minute, can you explain what’s happened recently?

James has hit the self-destruct button recently and he is very much on a downward spiral. He’s discovered that Harry has been murdered, he’s had to identify the body, this lead him to doubt everything about his life, everything he did with Harry. His mum thinks that he could be guilty of killing Harry and he’s ended up on top of the arch trying to kill himself. He’s been saved by his son who tries to look after him going forward, but things just spiral out of control and he discovers that Mercedes was in the car that ran over Grace and he believes that Harry has been silenced in order to preserve her freedom. So, once he discovers all of this, it’s just incredibly tumultuous for him and he just really hits rock bottom and is out for revenge.

Image Credit: Lime Pictures

Have you enjoyed playing the father son dynamic with Owen Warner?

Yea I’ve really enjoyed it, he’s a really good young actor and he is really willing to learn. He takes it all very seriously, so it’s been fun to have a totally new dynamic for James that I just wasn’t expecting at all. It’s been fun having a younger member of the family and riffing off that. I don’t think James can be a good influence on anyone though. James is trying to be a good dad and if that means that he’s just trying to provide some stability to what has been a pretty up and down life that Juliet and Romeo have had then so be it. I don’t think he would necessarily see himself as a good role model – I think he feels that he’s a relatively flawed personality. He’s had no role models himself really. I think his mum, Marnie might take Umbridge to that but certainly his dad, Mac was not a good role model and Marnie certainly has her own flaws, which James has experienced over the years.

How did you celebrate being voted Best Actor at the British Soap Awards?

It was pretty low-key; my wife was away that weekend and so I had quite a quiet night. I went to the after-party with everyone and then I was pitched straight back into looking after our three boys from about midday the day after – I drove back, and it was straight back to reality. There was no dwelling on it and then it was back to work, so it’s been a lovely thing to happen but it does feel a long time ago.

Image Credit: Lime Pictures

People seem to quite like that your wife [Ariana Fraval, who plays DS Cohen] is on Hollyoaks with you, so what’s that been like to film with her?

It was definitely weird to begin with, it’s just going to be strange – we were at home in the kitchen and then the next time we saw each other we were on set and there was almost no discernible difference, but now we’ve got used to it and she knows everyone. Starting any new job can be a nerve-wracking experience and she has really hit the ground running now and knows everyone so feels a lot more comfortable, and as a result, so do I – she knows all the scheduling and isn’t worrying about things too much. She’s very sympathetic to what we do on a day to day basis.

If you could play any other TV character, who would it be and why?

Oh my God, I don’t know, I’m trying to think of shows that I really like on TV – I like a detective drama, I’d be into those sorts of things. I wouldn’t mind doing a period drama, that could be quite fun, or a bit of comedy. I don’t look enviously at any other TV shows and think “cor, I’d love to play that part”. I was talking to Anna [Passey, who plays Sienna] and we were talking about ‘Killing Eve’ and she would like to play Villainelle, but I can’t imagine myself… maybe it’s just that I’m so involved in doing this that I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. Most actors get associated with a character like Doctor Who or whatever it might be, and it’s just chance that whatever character comes along it ends up defining you on some level, and I suspect my character is that character for me, and I feel quite lucky that it came along at all.

Interview Credit: Lime Pictures and Channel 4

Image Credit: Lime Pictures