John Paul McQueen
|John Paul McQueen|
|Portrayed by||James Sutton|
|First appearance||6 September 2006|
|Created by||Bryan Kirkwood|
|Introduced by||Bryan Kirkwood (2006, 2012)|
English teacher (2013–14)
Shop assistant (2014—)
|Home||26 Leigh Road|
John Paul McQueen is a fictional character from the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by James Sutton. The character debuted on-screen during the episode airing on 6 September 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, the storyline gained a fanbase and garnered them "supercouple status". The storyline received acclaim from LGBT rights charity Stonewall. John Paul later has a relationship with a priest, Kieron Hobbs. In 2008, Sutton quit the serial and his character received a "sunset ending" with Craig, which was promised for fans by executive producer Bryan Kirkwood. In October 2012, it was announced Sutton had reprised his role and John Paul returned on 18 December 2012, following his departure from his role as Ryan Lamb in Emmerdale. Since his return, the character was the victim of a controversial male rape storyline involving his pupil Finn O'Connor.
John Paul meets Craig Dean (Guy Burnet) after saving him from a beating by bully Sonny Valentine (Devon Anderson). John Paul and Craig become close friends. John Paul confesses to Craig that he is in love with him at John Paul's girlfriend's house. 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. John Paul and Craig share a drunken kiss at a school dance-off competition which is seen by Hannah Ashworth (Emma Rigby) who at the time was John Paul's girlfriend, and tells everyone at the dance. John Paul comes out to his family, receiving support from all of his sisters, except Mercedes (Jennifer Metcalfe) and Michaela (Hollie-Jay Bowes), and reluctant support from his mother Myra (Nicole Barber-Lane). John Paul comes out to his classmates. 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. Craig attempts to say sorry to him but John Paul makes it clear that he is no longer his friend and does not accept his apology.
John Paul and Craig later make up and begin an affair. It goes on for months with Craig always saying that he is going to end it. John Paul sends a text to Sarah (Craig's girlfriend) saying to come up the stairs. She then walked in on Craig and John Paul kissing. Craig 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 admits to his brother, Jake (Kevin Sacre), 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.
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 (David Judge), Mercedes and Justin Burton (Chris Fountain). John Paul is later forced to move back into his family home. In early 2008, Myra McQueen offers her home to the Hollyoaks new young Catholic Priest, Father Kieron Hobbs. John Paul and Kieron later begin a relationship in secret. They are nearly caught by Myra when petting in the McQueen residence. Despite this, Kieron later says that he is the happiest man he has ever been with John Paul. John Paul and Kieron become an official romantic couple after making their relationship public. John Paul proposes to Kieron who joyfully accepts. However, a few weeks later, John Paul realises he's too young to get married and calls off the engagement, shortly before finding out that Craig has returned to the village. When Craig returns, Kieron witnesses him and John Paul in an intimate embrace outside The Dog in The Pond. Although John Paul insists nothing is going on, Kieron gives John Paul an ultimatum, insisting they get married the following week. When John Paul cannot make that promise, Kieron sadly accepts their relationship is over. Craig returns and on reuniting, all John Paul's romantic feelings for him resurface. Kieron is left angry after confronting John Paul. After a 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 make love after a year apart shortly after. They both leave together to live in Dublin.
John Paul unsuccessfully attempts to prevent Craig from leaving him at the coach station in Dublin. He ends up meeting Brendan Brady (Emmett J. Scanlan) and sleeps with him. He returns home for Christmas only to find an abandoned baby at his family's doorstep. John Paul tells Nancy that he is the father. He reveals that he and Craig decided to have a child to save their relationship. However, it is unknown who is the paternal father. He initially rejects the baby, but decides to be a single parent and names him Matthew. He secures a teaching job at the local sixth form. His colleague Jen Gilmore (Amy Downham) gets fired when it emerges she was previously in a relationship with student Tilly Evans (Lucy Dixon). However, when Patrick discovers John Paul's awareness of Jen's actions, he believes he will lose his job, so he and Doug cover Patrick's car with post-its as a prank. It seems John Paul will embark on a relationship with Doug Carter (PJ Brennan), after a tumultuous start, the two sleep together. Later, it turns out that Patrick was not intending to fire John Paul, but suspends him from work because of his prank. John Paul later starts dating Doug but ends because Doug is still in love with Ste.
John Paul meets supply teacher Danny Lomax (Stephen Billington). He kisses John Paul but does not see him for two weeks. John Paul later tells Danny that he will not be treated badly, but they soon begin dating. Matthew's mother Chloe (Susan Loughnane) arrives and claims Craig is Matthew's father. She demands money or she will fight for custody, but a DNA test proves John Paul as the father. John Paul and Danny find the body of D.S. Trent while on a date. John Paul is upset to learn that Danny is married to Sam Lomax (Lizzie Roper), lies about Danny being present at the discovery and briefly implicates himself in the murder investigation. Finn O'Connor (Keith Rice) and Robbie Roscoe (Charlie Wernham) begin tormenting John Paul. The bullying itensifies with a series of pranks and homophobic abuse directed at John Paul. He tries to reason with Finn and help him with his family problems, but it only makes the situation worse. John Paul shares a kiss with Ste and they grow closer.
After John Paul humiliates Finn he is placed in charge of a detention in which Finn is present. While alone with Finn, he attacks John Paul with an ornament and rapes him. John Paul goes to the police to report the attack but changes his mind before making a statement. John Paul confines himself to his bedroom and Sam offers him support. When he looses his temper with Peri Lomax (Ruby O'Donnell) for but Sam forgives him. John Paul returns to his job and is placed on a school trip with Finn and Robbie. Finn is involved in a quad bike accident and John Paul contemplates letting him die before administering CPR. Robbie wants to know why he was reluctant to save Finn and starts taunting him in class. John Paul loses his temper and punches Robbie. John Paul is suspended and arrested but given bail. He begins drinking and takes cocaine with Ste. But Robbie learns that Finn has raped John Paul and he apologises for his role in bullying. On the day of John Paul's assault hearing Robbie tries to confess, but Finn intercepts the confession writing an accusation that John Paul sexually harassed Robbie and this is read to the court, which serves him a six month jail sentence. Sam learns of John Paul and Danny's affair and refuses to see him again. He also orders Ste to never visit him in prison.
John Paul McQueen was created in 2006; back story given to the character is that he grew up with five sisters (Jacqui, Mercedes, Tina, Carmel, and Michaela), his mum (Myra), 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 [offence] 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."
On 12 October 2012, Daniel Kilkelly from Digital Spy revealed that Sutton had returned to Hollyoaks. The actor was seen back on the set, shortly after agreeing to reprise his role as John Paul. He had entered talks about a return with the show's producers earlier in the year. Kilkelly reported that little was known about John Paul's return storyline, but he would be seen on-screen in time for Christmas. He returned on 18 December 2012. At Christmas a baby was left on the McQueens doorstep and it was revealed to be John Paul's. After having a word with his mother Myra, John Paul decided to keep his son and named him Matthew. 
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 United Kingdom, 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". Detailing 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."
Virgin Media compiled a list of their "Sexiest soap opera couples", they included John Paul and Craig in the list and stated: "The love affair between the Hollyoaks students gripped viewers so much that they started their own campaign for the pair to ride off into the sunset together. They got their wish, and we like to think that Craig and John Paul are now living happily ever after together in Dublin..."
- Jensen, Michael (2008-07-08). "Interview with James Sutton". AfterElton.com. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Cooper, Lorna (2008). "John Paul Quits Hollyoaks". MSN. Archived from the original on 2008-07-31. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Kilkelly, Daniel (12 October 2012). "Exclusive: 'Hollyoaks': James Sutton returning as John Paul McQueen". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Green, Kris (2007-11-03). "'Hollyoaks' honoured at Stonewall Awards". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Green, Kris (2008-06-09). "EXCLUSIVE: Craig Dean returns to 'Hollyoaks'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "Hollyoaks' Craig Dean and John Paul McQueen - Soaps' sexiest couples". Virginmedia.com. (Virgin Media Inc.). Retrieved 2010-10-24.