|Portrayed by||Alex Carter|
|First appearance||13 May 2001|
|Last appearance||25 October 2011|
|Introduced by||Jo Hallows (2001)
Paul Marquess (2010)
|In Too Deep (2004)
Crossing the Line (2005)
Hollyoaks: Freshers (2010)
|Occupation||Student (until 2011)
PR consultant (2011–)
Lee Hunter is a fictional character from the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Alex Carter. The youngest son of Les (John Graham Davies) and Sally Hunter (Katherine Dow Blyton), he made his first on-screen appearance on 13 May 2001. The character was described as "wayward", a "cheeky chap" and a "wheeler dealer". Carter announced his decision to quit the serial in 2005 to have more free time, filming his departure scenes in October 2005 and departed on-screen 23 December 2005.
Carter returned to Hollyoaks as a full-time character in September 2010, reintroduced by series producer Paul Marquess, although his comeback scenes aired in internet spin-off Hollyoaks: Freshers. Upon his return, the character has been described as "a tool", "confident" and "arrogant". In May 2011 it was announced Carter had quit again, in order to pursue other projects.
Lee first appears in May 2001 as part as the Hunter family, when he is brought home by the police. Lee gets into trouble at school and starts to fail his exams. This causes his depressed, since his eldest sister Ellie has been disappear in Ibiza for two years, and then she came back to Hollyoaks in 2002. Things get worse for Lee, as his sister Lisa is bullied by Steph Dean, causing her to self-harm, with the help of his parents, Ellie and Dan, Lee supportive Lisa for his entire life. Lee gradually becomes best friends with Bombhead (Lee Otway). Lee is delighted when he starts to make money by schemes, but they often go wrong. Lee grows close to Abby Davies (Helen Noble) and forms a relationship with her. He and Abby continue to fall out and make up. Lee has a fling with Abby's best friend Zara Morgan.
Lee proposes to Abby and she accepts before leaving for university in Brighton. Lee becomes miserable after her departure and annoys his friends. He visits Abby and finds her in bed with another man. Lee is devastated when Abby breaks off their engagement. Abby tells him she made a mistake accepting his proposal, while there was more bad news to Lee as his sister Ellie lost her memory and accused their brother Dan for killing her husband Toby, which he turns against her for her actions, alongside with her family, while one year later, Dan died from car explosion, and blames Ellie for what she's did to Dan, and told her, alongside with Lisa that she's not part of the family forever, causing Ellie to leave Hollyoaks.
Lee starts a beauty therapy student at Hollyoaks Community College after he fails to enrol in film studies because of his grades. He becomes college president and alienates Bombhead. Lee's opponent Chris Fenwick (Chris Grierson) becomes vice president after he accepts him. Chris tries to manipulate Lee into spending more than what the college fund has. Lee refuses to believe Bombhead when he tells him what Chris is doing. After the revelation, Lee doesn't speak to Bombhead after he thinks that he stole the missing money. Chris and Freddy Watson (Greg Kelly) frame Lee for the fire at the media lab, which Freddy caused. Zara saves Lee when she reveals Freddy's plot to the college council. Lee punches Chris. Lee is expelled from college with Zara, Chris and Freddy. Lee develops feelings for Zara and they become close. Zara decides to do voluntary work in Thailand. Later, Lee and Zara admit their feelings for each other. Lee leaves the village with Zara.
Lee returns to the village with Leanne Holiday (Jessica Forrest). Lee re-enrolls at Hollyoaks Community College as a mature drama student. He learns that Darren Osborne (Ashley Taylor Dawson) has also enrolled. Darren tells Lee that Steph Cunningham's (Carley Stenson) cancer is terminal and he tries to avoid her. Steph notices him and they chat. Lee is shocked when Kevin Smith (Cameron Crighton) tells him that Leanne kissed Doug Carter (PJ Brennan) after seeing them. However, he believes Leanne when the group turn against Kevin and say he is a liar. Lee grows close to Amy Barnes (Ashley Slanina-Davies), after helping her college project. After Amy successfully performs her stand-up routine, Lee is shocked when Amy kisses him. Lee tells Leanne that he kissed Amy, but she forgives him. Lee tells her that he wants to spend the rest of his life with her.
Lee finds a poster asking for directors to put on a production. Lee takes down the poster and successfully applies for the position. He writes a script naming the play 'MasKara' and casts Jem Costello (Helen Russell-Clark) and Jamil Fadel (Sikander Malik) in the lead roles. Lee also casts Texas Longford (Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove). Later, Lee gives the cast more control after Jem and Texas complain to Leanne. Lee tries to hang some set up for the production and falls off the ladder, hurting his neck.
Due to Lee's absence, Steph takes over the production, making drastic changes and hiring Carmel Valentine as the makeup artist. Lee is keen to see what Steph has changed in the production, but is horrified when he sees the costumes and props. He walks off, but then returns to give the production another go, however begins another argument and eventually upsets Steph after mentioning her cancer. Due to Lee's actions, Jem quits and Lee decides to re-cast the leading part to Amy. On the day of the production, he is forced by the cast members to apologise to Steph and does so. Things however are not sorted, as Darren fails to remember his lines and quits last minute. Lee, with no other options, casts himself as the part that Darren was scheduled to play. The production receives positive feedback from the cheering audience, however Nancy Hayton (Jessica Fox) writes a review which harshly criticises Lee's directing skills.
Lee and Amy remain good friends and eventually Lee admits to Amy he believes he should not be marrying Leanne because he is attracted to her. They kiss and fall asleep next to each other, something which Leanne sees. When she moves the wedding forward Lee promises Amy he is going to dump Leanne for her. However the situation changes when Amy is hospitalized after being injured in a fire at Il Gnosh restaurant. Lee then tells Leanne the news but she does not care and tells him that she won't be there if Amy dies, defying him. Lee then goes to visit Steph's family to give them her farewell CD, as she had died in the fire whilst saving Amy and her children. Amy then makes a life-changing decision to leave Hollyoaks and ends her relationship with Lee. He is devastated, and Leanne tricks him into believing that she visited Amy and she wrote him a letter, when in fact, unbeknownst to Lee, Leanne wrote the letter herself in the hope that Lee would take her back. In January, Amy returns to the village and she and Lee reconcile and get engaged. When Amy applies for a teaching job, Lee sees her talking to an older man and getting the wrong impression, angrily confronts him and Amy is angry with Lee for showing her up. Lee also becomes jealous when she befriends Mark "Dodger" Savage (Danny Mac) and when Dodger gives her driving lessons and a false driver's licence, Lee reports him to the police but Amy is arrested and fined. After falling out with Lee over this, Amy later has a one-night stand with Dodger and she later guiltily confesses to Lee. Lee angrily confronts Dodger and a fight breaks out between them which Amy witnesses and she dumps Lee for embarrassing himself and her. After Lee apologizes and forgives her for sleeping with Dodger, he and Amy reconcile and set a date for their wedding.
In October 2011, Lee in offered a job in New York, which he accepts and he and Amy plan to move there with her children, but when Amy's ex-boyfriend Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson), father of her son Lucas, finds out about this, he tells them he won't let them take the children. Lee and Amy then invite him to join them in New York, and he accepts their offer but he could not get a VISA due to his criminal record, Ste then tells them he does not want the children to go and Lee turns down the job offer, much to the shock of Amy and Ste. Amy then buys Lee tickets to New York, so he is able to go. Amy tells Lee she won't be going with him, and Lee leaves on his own in a taxi for the airport.
Character creation and casting
Alex Carter successfully auditioned for the role of Lee Hunter in 2001 and joined the cast of Hollyoaks as the youngest son of Les (John Graham Davies) and Sally Hunter (Katherine Dow Blyton) and brother to Ellie (Sarah Baxendale), Dan (Andrew McNair) and Lisa (Gemma Atkinson). The character made his first on-screen appearance on 13 May 2001. In March 2004, the Sunday Mirror reported that Lee and the majority of the Hunter family would be axed along with ten other cast members. However Lee and the Hunter family remained in the serial and only six of the fourteen cast members announced were axed. In 2005 it was announced that Carter had quit the serial and would be leaving at the end of his contract. After developing feelings for friend Zara Morgan (Kelly Greenwood) who was leaving the village to do charity work in Thailand, Lee decided to accompany her, making his exit in the episode that aired on 22 December 2005. Speaking of his decision to quit in 2006, Carter said, "It'd been five years, and it was long hours - I was working weekends and things - and realistically I'd had five years out of my life, I just wanted my weekends back. I wanted a bit of a life as well as work." In an interview with OK! magazine in 2010, Carter discussed the reasons why he initially quit Hollyoaks commenting, "When I left Hollyoaks originally, in 2005, I was quite tired and ready to go, because of the schedules."
In 2011, Paul Marquess was appointed as the new Hollyoaks procuder. He planned to give Hollyoaks a "shake up", changing the productions team, writing characters out and replacing them with new ones. It was announced on 15 March 2010, that Marquess had decided to reintroduce Lee to the serial as part of his revamp. Carter signed an initial six-month contract with the soap after announcing his decision to leave his role as Jamie Hope in Emmerdale. In an interview with entertainment website Digital Spy about Lee's return, Marquess explained, "He turns up with another character. He's been working as a Gareth Gates impersonator on a cruise ship and he won't just have light stories because Alex is great. He's one of our new students. The thing about our new students is the audience will recognise some of them." Carter revealed that he has previously been in talks with Marquess' predecessor Allan, whom he knew from previously working on the show.
In July 2010, it was announced that Carter would make his comeback scenes as Lee in new online spin-off Hollyoaks: Freshers. Speaking of his appearance in the spin-off, Carter said he was thrilled, commenting, "I'm thrilled to be back and it's really exciting that my first episodes are for the online spin-off." In the same month it was announced that Jessica Forrest had been cast as Lee's girlfriend Leanne Holiday. Digital Spy reported that Leanne would also appear in the spin-off before making her first appearance in Hollyoaks as a new student.
In May 2011 it was announced that Carter had decided to leave the serial in order to pursue other projects. Speaking of his departure, Carter stated: "After ten years in soap, it feels like the right time to find out what else is out there."
In May 2004, Carter won the "Best Comedy Performance" award at the 2004 British Soap Awards for his portrayal of Lee, and in July 2005 he was nominated for "Best Actor" at the 2005 National Television Awards. Jon Horsley of Yahoo! said that he would miss Lee after he leaves and said "he’s genuinely funny. His miming of a moustache to mean “must dash” was one of the few things that has made us laugh out loud in soaps."
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