Interview: Stephen Uppal of ‘Hollyoaks’

Raj Baddhan

Senior Editor


Channel 4’s daily soap ‘Hollyoaks’ recently saw the introduction of an Indian family with hunk ‘Ravi Roy’, played by Stephen Uppal first cropping up on screen from the family last year.

The 27-year old has had a string of challenging storylines since his entry in the Merseyside soap. Viewers have seen the character come to terms with his sexuality. His bi-sexuality resulted in Ravi being entangled in a threesome with Kris and Nancy. In episodes screened earlier this week, Ravi has been diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm. We caught up with Stephen to find out more on his whirlwind ‘Hollyoaks’ adventure…

Stephen you joined ‘Hollyoaks’ last year, how did you land the role of ‘Ravi’?
I had just finished the Royal National Theatre’s production of the History Boys in the West End and my agent phoned with a casting for the role of Ravi. I auditioned and was lucky enough to land the job.

Your character has had quite a turbulent time since its inception, how has that been for you?
Great! I’m an actor who likes to be challenged and tackle difficult subjects. Acting for me is about being able to step away from who you are and become this whole different person, and when I’m put outside of my comfort zone I relish in the opportunity.

What has been the most exciting part of Ravi you have enjoyed playing?
Definetly the aneurysm storyline and what�۪s coming up. I have learnt so much about myself not only as an actor but as a person. It has also made me realise how fortunate I am.
The biggest storyline we’ve seen you in is battling with your sexuality, what was your initial reaction when you were told about this?
The same as brushing my teeth in the morning! If it phased or bothered me then I am in the wrong profession. All that concerns me is trying to play the truth within every scene I do.

You’ve had some intimate scenes with Kris on the show, how did you feel about doing this?
Like I said, it doesn’t faze me. I’m grateful that the producers trusted me as a professional to deal with such a difficult issue.

With you being Asian, what kind of feedback have you had since “coming out” on screen?
I haven’t had any negative feedback which is good. I think the Asian community are open minded and liberal and have enjoyed this storyline.

Is there any man on the show you wish to see Ravi settle down with?
Well the character is bisexual so it could be a man or woman. That is up to the Producers and as long as the story is good and challenging I don’t mind.
You’re known for wearing very little on the show and recently you went partially nude for a photo shoot for Cosmopolitan magazine, do you enjoy wearing next to nothing?
That shoot was for awareness for testicular cancer and my father died three years ago from bowel cancer so even if they wanted to paint me green I would have done it. I wouldn’t say I’m known for wearing next to nothing, but if you’ve got it…!

In the coming days, Ravi’s world comes crashing down after a fight with Caleb, what happens?
I don’t want to spoil it for the viewers but I really hope they like it! We’ve recently seen that Ravi has a potentially fatal brain aneurysm and he struggles to deal with the news.
How is it to play a character with aneurysm?
It has been great for me, such an opportunity to learn and push myself and to grow artistically. The research involved was intense and I really enjoyed learning about it. I met people living with the condition and that was hard but it gave me a better insight into what I was dealing with. It was hard hearing their stories so I really hope I do them justice.

Kris helps Ravi during this hard time, will we see the two characters getting back together?
No they are just good friends but Kris and Nancy find love over Ravi’s bedside!

We hope with this new storyline, Ravi’s not on the way out of ‘Hollyoaks’…
Wait and see! But you wont be disappointed!

How has it been working with your on screen brother Ash and the rest of the Roy family?
Its been an absolute pleasure…I seriously love them all.

In your personal time, what does Stephen enjoy doing?
I studied English at uni before heading off to drama college so as geeky as it sounds I love to read. Picture of Dorian Gray is my favourite novel and a remake of the film will be at cinemas in November. A good friend of mine Ben Barnes is playing Dorian so if you see it please be supportive!!!

Any plans for a Bollywood break?
Seriously I love Bollywood! I have actually performed in two West End musicals but my Hindi is non existent. I’d be there if they would have mum would be over the moon!!

A message to your fans…
Thank you sooooooooooo much for your support it seriously means a lot to any actor. I hope you keep enjoying what I do and I will try my best not to let you guys down! Thanks!