Hollyoaks stuns fans as John Paul and Craig get one final moment in the sun

It was the end of an era for Hollyoaks last night (March 8) as one of the show's most long-standing and popular characters, John Paul McQueen, bid farewell to the village for a second time. Actor James Sutton's exit form the Channel 4 soap was announced back in January, leading to all sorts of speculation as to how the character's storylines would be tied up after appearing on screen on and off for more than a decade. Though writers kept details of John Paul's exit strictly under wraps, fans had been clamouring for the teacher to reunite with his first love, Craig Dean (Guy Burnet), who was last seen back in 2008 when the couple originally rode off into the sunset together. John Paul and Craig had featured in one of British soap's biggest gay storylines of the last ten years when the then-teenage friends came to terms with their feelings for one another and embarked on an angst-ridden affair behind the back of Craig's girlfriend. 'McDean' shippers had their wish granted last night as John Paul decided to leave Holloaks village for good and jet off to Singapore with son Matthew, only for the to receive a surprise phone call from the love of his life while on the plane.

With actor Guy Burnett busy getting his kit off in racy US drama The Affair, sadly there was no on-screen reunion for soap's star-crossed lovers, but that didn't stop fans losing their minds at the surprise final scene. "John Paul leaving with that Phone call from Craig was the perfect ending to his time in Hollyoaks," wrote one user. "So sad to see John Paul go (again) but couldn't have had a better ending. JP and Craig are meant to be together," said another. One easily pleased viewer added: "At least they did not die."

Commenting on the reasons on his second departure from the show, Sutton joked: "We've done a lot of big issue-based stuff and also John Paul has slept with half the village already.

"He was running out of fellas! It was very sad but it's exciting at the same time."

*sniffs* Sorry, you'll have to excuse us while we go and update the old McDean fan-fiction blog... Hollyoaks continues tonight (March 9) at 6.30pm on Channel 4. More stories: Single & Fabulous? | ‘Can we really be monogamous and live happily ever after?’ Former British soldier and LGBT activist James Wharton opens up about chemsex struggle