Hollyoaks teen Ella Richardson has had a traumatic start to 2021 after she accidentally killed Jordan Price on New Year's Eve, as the long-running County Lines storyline took another tragic twist.
Ella's (Erin Palmer) mum Mandy Richardson (Sarah Jayne Dunn) quickly discovered the truth about Ella's involvement and has been desperately trying to protect her daughter ever since, with Mandy blackmailing her ex Luke Morgan (Gary Lucy) this week in order to keep him quiet regarding Ella's secret.
But while Mandy is currently a rock for Ella, social distancing rules on set mean that the actors who play them need to keep apart.
However, actress Sarah Jayne Dunn has revealed that the soap is ensuring realism by bringing in the real-life mum of actress Erin Palmer, who plays Ella, to be a body double for Mandy.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Sarah Jayne said that she has found the lack of physical contact "really challenging" while filming the hard-hitting story.
"We have to keep a two-metre distance and that's been a real challenge, because maternally all I've wanted to do is envelope Ella and cuddle her and protect her and I've not been able to do that, so it's been a real challenge," she explained. "But it's been a good thing because it's made us think outside the box, there's been camera trickery to make us look closer together.
"Erin's mum, bless, has been my hand double a couple of times, putting her hand on a shoulder and stroking her hair so there's some physical contact, as long as we can keep telling the story. I think it gives another dynamic to Mandy in that, there's this desperation."
Ella will continue to need her mum's love and support as she struggles to cope with the return of drugs boss Victor Brothers (Benjamin O'Mahoney) to the village, although she is now about to get more help from Jordan's cousin Sid Sumner (Billy Price).
After Sid found out that Ella had suffered from a panic attack as a result of her most recent encounter with Victor, Sid offered himself to Victor as a replacement drug pusher for Ella.
Victor accepted, but Sid has a plan of his own – he is going to record all of his drug deals in an attempt to prove Victor's crimes and try to help all of the teenagers who have been caught up in his web.
Hollyoaks airs new episodes from Mondays to Fridays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
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