James Sutton will return to Hollyoaks later this year as popular character John Paul McQueen.
Sutton, who played John Paul from 2006 on and off until 2017 and was involved in a number of high-profile storylines around homosexuality, said he is “delighted” to reprise his role in the Channel 4 programme.
Storylines have included his relationship with Craig Dean (Guy Burnet) and his romance with Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson).
John Paul was also subjected to homophobic abuse at the school where he was a teacher, and was raped by student Finn O’Connor (Keith Rice).
Earlier this year it was revealed that Rice will also return to the fictional village of Hollyoaks as Finn is released from prison.
Sutton, 36, first played John Paul – a member of the McQueen family – from 2006 until 2008, before returning for a second stint between 2012 and 2017.
He said: “I’m delighted to be returning and reprising the role of John Paul, a character that I care deeply about.
“The cast and crew of Hollyoaks are among the loveliest and hardest working I know and I’m really looking forward to being back with them.”
Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said: “James Sutton’s creation, John Paul McQueen, is one of the most beloved characters in Hollyoaks’ history. We are delighted to have him back, to bring some stability to the chaotic McQueen household and to be a figurehead at Hollyoaks High.
“John Paul has featured in two of Hollyoaks’ biggest ever stories. With so many loose ends in the village and a few ex-lovers, we are looking forward to another groundbreaking chapter.”
Since leaving Hollyoaks two years ago, Sutton has had a number of theatre roles, including in Rope at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, and a UK and New York tour of Caroline’s Kitchen by the Original Theatre Company.
The actor is an ambassador for the charity Survivors Manchester, which aims to create and facilitate a safe space for male survivors of sexual abuse and rape.
The charity’s chief executive officer Duncan Craig said: “We are over the moon to hear that our ambassador James Sutton is returning to Hollyoaks as the formidable John Paul McQueen.
“The groundbreaking storyline that James was at the centre of as John Paul in 2014 had such a profound impact on us at Survivors Manchester and for male survivors in general that it helped us lobby for funds specifically to support organisations working with males.
“The first ever Male Rape Support Fund was announced and I was proud to make a short film with James and the Ministry of Justice to celebrate this.
“James made a commitment back then to always advocate where he can to raise the awareness of the issue of male sexual violence and five years later he remains a committed ambassador for us here, something that has helped so many men step forward as they hear him speak and know there is help.
“We cannot wait to see how this amazing male survivor, John Paul McQueen continues his healing journey.”
Sutton is also known for starring in Emmerdale as Ryan Lamb from 2009 to 2011.