Hollyoaks star reveals why Celeste had to die and teases huge aftermath

Celeste Faroe’s (Andrea Ali) determination in Hollyoaks to protect brother Toby (Bobby Gordon) ultimately cost her her life.

The paralegal-in-training was one of many of the Channel 4 soap’s residents caught up in the catastrophic explosion at the Salon De Thé.

She survived the initial blast, and even managed to escape the burning building with some assistance from dad Felix Westwood (Richard Blackwood), but with Toby still trapped inside, she knew what she had to do.

Without so much as a second thought, Celeste re-entered the patisserie, desperate to persuade Toby to come with her. Toby, however, was determined to die, after he admitted his role in Lisa’s (Rachel Adedeji) demise.

Celeste offered him comfort, making it quite clear that she would under no circumstances leave him alone, and the two siblings shared a special moment together, one that would ultimately be their last.

Tragedy struck, as debris and remnants of the building descended upon the duo. Toby managed to survive. Celeste, however, did not.

No, YOU’RE crying.

Heartbreaking, right? Metro.co.uk thought so too, so we caught up with actress Andrea Ali to discuss Celeste’s death, why this was the only way her tale could end, and what’s next for Toby following his devastating confession.

We’re so excited Hollyoaks’ big stunt week. Are you?

You and me both! I think I’ve been so anxious about how it’s going to be received and what the outcome is going to be. But I have the utmost faith that there are going to be a lot of shocked fans but also also a lot of happy fans at the same time. I couldn’t have imagined this going any other way. I’m so honoured to be a part of something so seismic!

There are so many shocks that we don’t think people will see coming.

Exactly! This is the first time that I think in my time on the show that someone hasn’t guessed what’s going to happen.

Everyone is usually so on-point with their guesses, and I’ve been glued to social media to see if anyone’s picked up on it, and they haven’t been able to so, honestly, props to Hollyoaks for keeping this quiet because, man, this is literally going to blow everyone away!

So, Celeste dies in the explosion. We’re so sad! How did that come about and when did you find out about it?

It was a very difficult decision to make, and I’m so grateful to be a part of a company that truly care about me, my career and well-being, so we were able to have a few conversations about when the right time was and when to do it.

We felt like the best way to go out would be to give Celeste the ending she deserves. We’re so glad she gets to go out with her brother, she gets to die in Toby’s arms. She came in with her brother, looking for her family, found her family. There was a lot of drama in between, but ultimately she dies protecting her brother, and I think that’s the only way she would ever have been able to leave him.

Toby and Celeste came in with this storyline that they stuck together, they had this strange, but loveable and unbreakable bond. Something had to happen to one of them for the other to be set free. We didn’t know what that was going to be, or where they were going to end up. It just so happens that Celeste is the one to set Toby free and give him the chance to take accountability for his actions and force him to grow up. It’ll force him to imagine life without his sister – his backbone of sorts.

I think the ending is truly poetic and I’m honoured to be going out in this way. I’m truly grateful to Hollyoaks for the work they’ve put in over the past few months in making this happen. I was really emotional reading the scripts for the first time, just seeing Celeste die, on paper. I’m so attached to this character, I’ve really grown to love her.

I don’t personally agree with all the decisions she’s made, but I think at her core she’s about love and loyalty. I hope people remember where she came from, and how hard she had it before coming into the village.

When she came into the village, she made friends and had a stronger relationship with her family. Contrary to what people might believe, she did love Mitchell, and I think she grew to love Lisa. But ultimately she was always going to choose her brother over everything in a heartbeat. That’s what she did. She is such a strong character, and I’m going to miss her dearly.

What was it like filming those final scenes, when Celeste and Toby almost accept their fate?

Oh it was an honour to film those scenes with Bobby. he’s been my partner throughout my time on the show, so the chemistry is unmatched. We were really able to work through how we wanted to do it with our incredible director Miguel and everyone else who was on set with us that day.

We just wanted it to be as genuine and authentic as possible. We didn’t want to sway the audience to feel a certain type of way, or overplay it in a way that we want you to feel bad or angry, we wanted the audience to feel whatever way they actually felt. To just appreciate the lives [Toby and Celeste] lived together.

It was very, very emotional. And it was very, very hard. I did shed a tear when I was leaving. I wasn’t expecting to, but I did. And I think it’s because I’m going to miss working with such a phenomenal team of people, and I don’t take that for granted. A million times over, I just want to thank everyone at Hollyoaks for just making this such an incredible experience for me.

And how do you feel, looking back on everything, now that Celeste’s time on the show has come to an end?

I’m happy, because I feel like Celeste came in on a mission and that she completed that mission. I feel like her staying for much longer… I don’t think she could’ve handled any more drama, or any more stress. In previous episodes, we’ve seen her breaking down and telling Toby: ‘Stop, we can’t do this anymore. This is too much. We finally got the family we wanted. I just want us to be normal.’ I don’t think she would’ve had that normality if she had continued living, so I think she’s finally free and at peace.

I’m happy that this is the way people will remember such an iconic character, if I do say so myself! And killing me off means they can’t recast me, so I’m happy about that! [laughs].

Did you enjoy filming the stunts and explosion scenes?

I literally became Tomb Raider on set! [laughs].

I had the knee pads, I had the shoe pads! We were wearing masks, as there was so much dust and debris everywhere. It was night shoots, so some of the stuff we were working on until 3am!

We were so exhausted, but we were so determined to make something so memorable. Everyone really gave a hundred percent.

It was my first stunt! I’m kind of sad that it’s my last, but again I’m really happy it all worked out this way. I would do it again, a million times over. It’s going to look so epic on screen.

I also hope people can appreciate how difficult this was to film given the Covid circumstances. We did it as faithfully as we could, and we were as considerate for others as we could be. But to finally get that close contact again made everything feel worthwhile, you know? I don’t think we would’ve been able to do this if Celeste was two meters away from Toby, dying away from him [laughs].

So to be able to have that physical contact again really did show the love between Toby and Celeste, so I’m really glad and I hope that translates well.

I’m looking forward to watching them. I’ve tried not to look at any spoilers. I’ve seen NOTHING. So, I’ll look forward to seeing it.

They are so well done, and so emotional. They’re some of our favourite scenes in the episode.

Yay! I’m REALLY happy about this, not going to lie! [laughs].

And also, I’m really happy that they killed me off while I was still wearing lashes! [laughs]. That’s the only thing I wanted! [laughs].

It’s a great exit! Did you get everything you wanted?

I did! My wig was still on. I had lashes! My nails were broken, and I think that was wonderful as it was a nice little symbolic touch of Celeste almost losing her powers.

She came in and I felt like this supervillain with the nails and all of her power of control came from her nails, so for her die with her nails broken and dishevelled, I think that’s really symbolic, so hats off to Hollyoaks’ team, the writers, the directors. Everyone.

That was completely by accident. We were filming, and I was giving my all. There was a lot of screaming and crying and having to move items out of the way. With each day that passed with filming, a nail broke off and then another. I had to go to make-up like: ‘I’m so sorry!’, but they were like: ‘do you know what? just go with it. It’s real, it’s you, it’s part of the character.’

So, by the end of it, it all ended up working out! It’s a testament to how much we gave and how much we really cared about doing it the right way.

How do you think fans will react to Celeste’s death?

I hope they cry for me! [laughs].

I hope they’re able to see the lost little girl that Celeste was inside, and her and Toby were still just children. They never had the opportunity to grow up in a family, or around love.

They grew up in a weird environment with Doctor Ley, and I think that shaped them. They had a lot of pain. I think they didn’t know how to socialise or how to be accepted. I think as they were on the brink of getting it right, Saul came in and broke all of that to pieces. It was going to come to an end at some point, but I just hope fans can empathise with Celeste’s journey, what she had been through and see that she wanted to have friends.

She built this really solid relationship with Martine during the cancer and the unconscious bias, and with her granddad and Felix. Oh, Celeste and Felix scenes will always give me joy to look back on! They always had that comedic element, and that was really wonderful.

I hope fans remember Celeste as the strong powerhouse of a woman that she was. That’s my hope!

There is more story to come, as Toby has survived, and now he’s confessed! What would you like to see happen next, and will you keep watching?

I’m definitely going to keep watching! Once I left I didn’t read any scripts, as I wanted to put myself in the seat with the audience, not knowing what was going to happen. That’s the beauty of being on this side of TV now, I don’t know what’s going to happen three months in advance. I get to live with the suspense!

I kind of hope Toby gets away. Is that bad to say that?! [laughs]. No, but at the same time, I do want justice for Lisa. I do want Toby to finally be held accountable for his actions, in whatever way Hollyoaks see fit to do that. So I’m looking forward to watching with everyone else.

You’ve been a part of so many incredible Hollyoaks moments. Do you have a favourite scene out an episode?

Is it biased if I say this one? [laughs]. I would say this one. This has been my absolute favourite. The suspense of everything. Toby and Celeste thinking they got away with everything, finally having the family. Thinking they got away with throwing Mitchell under the bus, and then it all coming crashing down.

The way it was so beautifully written that the audience thinks Celeste makes it out of the fire alive, where they’re like: ‘Yay, she’s alive. Toby’s going to die!’, and then it’s like: ‘Oh, wait! Hold on, no! Don’t go back in there!’.

It was absolutely my favourite moment

What’s next for you? Do you have any projects lined up? Would you ever do another soap?

Oooh, that’s a good question! I’m open to whatever the universe has in store for me. I’ve learned so much during my time at Hollyoaks as an actress, I feel like I’ve really grown a lot, so I’m just excited for what the industry has for me.

I’m definitely going to take some time as well just to grow, as I think the pandemic robbed us of a lot of time spent with family and doing personal things, and simple things like going on holiday or sitting up watching a really good show, so I’m looking forward to those little moments as well.

Making the most out of life! Sorry, that sounds really cliche! [ laughs], but that where I am, you know? I’m open to whatever the world has for me!

Hollyoaks continues Thursday January 13 at 7pm on E4.

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