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Luke Pasqualino and Melissa Walton on OK! Magazine

Teenage drama is where the hot TV action is these days, and it’s the new kids on the block who are providing all the sexy, not to say athletic, spills and thrills – in particular a skateboarder in Skins and a stripper in Hollyoaks!
With his dusky Italian looks and brooding demeanour, Luke Pasqualino is gathering plenty of female attention as troubled Skins hero Freddie, whose reluctance to crack a smile only adds to his charisma.

And this week, a raunchy outdoor sex scene will only raise his heart-throb profile!

Gorgeous Melissa Walton, meanwhile, is enjoying a similarly sizzling time in Hollyoaks, where her character, blonde lapdancer Loretta, gets to strut her stuff under the glitterball this week and cause a commotion in the process.

We’re getting flushed cheeks just thinking about all these saucy shenanigans, so we decided to invite our two camera-friendly stars, both 19, to some exotic lunch at London’s ultra-fashionable Lebanese restaurant Fakhreldine, with its fabulous views of Green Park, where they swapped the goss over their challenging, and occasionally no-holds-barred roles…

Luke, that’s a fabulous Italian surname you have…
Yes, although I’m from Peterborough! My dad’s half of the family are all Sicilian, and on my mum’s side I’m Neapolitan, so it’s an interesting mix. I’ve been to Sicily once, and to Naples about five or six times. I’m really proud of my Italian heritage.

Freddie is a great skateboarder – did you have to be a skateboarder to get the part?
I told a couple of fibs early on, when they asked me if I could skateboard. Obviously I said yes, not realising how much of a skateboarder Freddie actually was! I had to skateboard as part of my audition so I just about swung it, though I hadn’t done it before. Then I did loads of training with a special team in Bristol, called the 50/50 Skate Team.

Did you sustain any injuries?
I tore some ligaments in my foot after I landed badly while rehearsing, and had to spend half a day in hospital. When I got back to the studio they had a little wheelchair for me, and I said: ‘I’m not getting in that!’ That was a week before we started filming, so I’m glad that was all over and done with by then.

Melissa, how did you feel when you heard that your Hollyoaks character Loretta was a stripper?
I was prepared for that aspect, and knew about it when I went for the audition. There’s no way that would have stopped me going for the part. I just thought, hmm, that sounds like an interesting one!

Did you have to do much research or rehearsals for the pole-dancing?
Yes, I had some pole dancing lessons, which I’m still continuing with, because I’m really enjoying it. It’s great exercise for you. The stuff that they wanted me to do in the first few episodes, where my character was introduced, wasn’t really acrobatic stuff, they just wanted a bit of sexiness. I just did a few spins. But I’ve had loads of lessons since and I can go upside down now!

What do your family think of you playing a lapdancer?
They’re really not bothered – they’re absolutely loving it. I’m probably more nervous about them seeing me in it than they are. When I told my mum and dad about the role, that she’s a lapdancer, they just went: ‘Good luck!’ That was it. I wouldn’t want to watch it on the telly with them. I just sit there with my mobile phone waiting for the texts to come through!

How did you both get your roles?
Luke: I auditioned for the first series of Skins and didn’t make it then, but then I finally got there in the end two years later. I went to the open audition and waited for four hours on my own – I was number 5,282 to be seen! I was told that 7,000 people went for my part, and nine auditions later I’m there, filming on set in Bristol.

Melissa: I’d not long left college when I auditioned for the role of Loretta just for Hollyoaks Later, so I imagined it was only for a short run. That went out last autumn, but apparently the producers were really impressed with her character and my performance, so they decided to continue with her in the main series – which I was secretly hoping might happen! I feel very privileged, because it was my first audition after leaving college.

Tell us about your characters…
Luke: Freddie is quite a moody guy. All of his problems revolve around the fact that his mother is dead and he’s got this really annoying sister who’s obsessed with fame and will do anything to become famous. The thing that really gets to Freddie is that she uses the fact that their mother is dead, like a sob story, on talent contests. He’s also in a love triangle, he’s competing with his best friend, so his life is a battle – he’s rarely got a smile on his face.

Melissa: I love that Loretta’s not a stereotypical stripper sort of girl – there’s a lot more depth to her. She’s actually quite shy and reserved. She’s got lots of interesting little hobbies, like bird-watching and Roman history! Then at night she skips off and turns into a stripper. It’s like two different lives, and I think many real-life pole-dancers are like that. They’re really nice, normal girls by day, and by night they turn into these temptresses.

Did you speak to any pole-dancers when you got the part?
I met and made friends with quite a few of them in the club where we were filming, and some of them are at uni, studying law or medicine, by day. They do it for the money, really – some nights they’d leave the club with about £50, but on a good Saturday night I’ve heard some girls say they can earn up to a grand.

What have been your most challenging scenes to play?

Luke: Probably my sex scene, just because it was very cold. That’s coming up in the next episode – it’s in the woods on a cold forest floor, which we filmed in November. It was a combination of cold, nerves and pain – you have to wear these silk pouches over designated areas of your body, and every time I moved, this tape was pulling hairs out of my legs. You don’t see my bottom in the scene – I’m on my back – but I’ll say no more!

Melissa: For me, it’s the scene that’s also on this week. Loretta agrees to do a lapdance for Josh’s 18th birthday in The Loft. Her boyfriend Dom is uncomfortable about it but doesn’t want to make a fuss. But his heart sinks when he walks in and sees his girlfriend half-dressed in the club in front of his friends! He has this one issue about her job – he pretends he’s fine with it, but he’s obviously not. So he walks out in a bit of huff.

Luke, what will your family think about your sex scene?

I don’t know, I shall have to take that one in my stride. They know it’s coming. If my gran’s watching, I’ll make sure the TV is on mute. I don’t really like her watching it! But if I’ve recorded it and she wants to watch it with me, I might fast-forward certain sections! Kaya [Scodelario], who plays Effy, makes her grandmother watch it with the sound off so I think I might take up that idea. But my family is totally supportive – for example, they’ve seen Freddie smoke some weed, and they know that it’s make-believe.

Melissa, what was it like filming that lapdancing sequence?

I wasn’t crazy about it. You’ve got to grin and bear it. The dancing is relatively raunchy – well, as raunchy as you can get for 6.30pm on national TV – so I’m hoping it will be edited tastefully. As tasteful as you can be in a pink frilly bra and knicker set, with a little skirt that’s more like a belt, and back-combed hair and fake eyelashes!

Was it a closed set that day?

I should be so lucky! People come up to you and try to give you a dressing gown in between every take, and you go: ‘There’s no point! I’ve got to get out there anyway!’ I wasn’t too nervous, though, because I’d done all my dancing scenes for Hollyoaks Later, and for all of that I was in next to nothing anyway.

Have you ever read a script and thought, oh my God, I’m not doing that?
The original scripts for Hollyoaks Later said that I was completely naked. It had stage directions saying: ‘She turns, revealing everything.’ Can you imagine, I’m at home reading these scripts that came through the post and I thought exactly that – especially as I want to have a long career! Luckily, the director told me: ‘Although it’s really full-on the way it’s written, I’m not expecting you to do that naked, so if it’s okay with you, you’ll be in your bra and knickers.’ I was so grateful for that!

You’re both very young – how are you dealing with the fame and attention that’s come with these roles on national TV?
Luke: I’m really enjoying it. You get a lot of people coming up to you asking for a photo or an autograph and I like that – it’s their way of giving you a compliment and saying that they like seeing what you’re doing. It can take you by surprise sometimes – like a couple of people coming up to me for a photo while I was buying some jeans in Topman!

Melissa: I’d like to think I’m handling it all well. You’re always learning things as you go along. I’m surrounded by friends and family who always bring you down to earth, so I think that keeps
me grounded.

Luke, you’re supporting a new anti-bullying campaign – can you tell us more about that…
Yes, it’s to help kids who are being bullied online or on their mobiles. Bullying is a really traumatic experience, but this new service means you don’t have to deal with cyber-bullying on your own, and you can get really useful tips and advice from other people who have already been through it themselves.

Ollie Barbieri's ep 7 and 8 blog

Well here I am sitting here listening to jazz on radio 2, reading through scripts for episodes 7 and 8 and writing this blog. It’s been a mad few weeks. We spent all of the first week filming scenes from episode 7, my episode and I enjoyed every minute of it. By the end, I had absolutely no energy left whatsoever and all the adrenaline I had been running on had run out. But what a week, I had to annihilate a waste paper bin (which incidentally got its revenge by slicing open my hand when I threw it across the room) and shout at the top of my voice at Jack. The whole week was a challenge for which I was well and truly up.

The second week was spent filming Kaya’s episode in the woods. It was cold. We spent a great deal of time filming outside and the weather was freezing.

Thankfully, we had Roz there to dispense the giant puffy coats we get when on location. We were also given these little heat packs which, after you expose them to air, stay hot for about 7 hours.

Needless to say, I spent a stupid amount of time trying to figure out how they worked and finally concluded that the answer must in fact be some sort of strange voodoo magic. Spirits were kept high, at least for a short time, by the mix CD which the director Charles burned especially for the occasion. Unfortunately, we were all pretty rubbish at taking photos, so I have made a representation of what it may have looked like.

The hotel is a relatively new experience for me as I usually just come from home every day, but because I was on set every day, I stayed in the hotel. The drawback of this was that I had to stop myself from eating and drinking everything in the mini bar every night. I failed miserably.

This block has been amazing; I have learned so much and have grown closer to everybody on set. If they weren’t the people they were, I doubt I’d have enjoyed it half as much. There were some quality moments, such as getting Jack Clough to do his Russian dancing, Ben Massey falling over about 18 times in the same place and Kaya smashing Jack’s face with a log to mention a few.

Anyway, I had probably better be off. John Coltraine is on the radio, I’m absolutely shattered and the idea of sleep is becoming irresistible.


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