It's been a whirlwind year for 23-year-old Parry Glasspool. After landing a role on Hollyoaks
straight out of drama school, the young actor hurtled onto our screens (and into our hearts) as loveable sixth form student Harry Thompson, who viewers have seen come to terms with is sexuality and embark on a relationship with show stalwart Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson).
Being nominated for 'Best Newcomer' at this month's National Television Awards (NTAs) has capped off a tremendous year for Parry, who'll be going up against big names like Corrie
's Shayne Ward, Eastenders'
Richard Blackwood and Emmerdale's
Gemma Atkinson for the accolade, and it's a testament to his explosive popularity that he's up for the fan-voted
award (and his naked bathroom selfies
probably haven't hurt his chances either). We caught up with the young star to discuss his nomination, his steamy onscreen love scenes and his rapidly growing gay fanbase...
Firstly, congratulations on your Best Newcomer nomination at the NTAs! How are you feeling about it?
It’s definitely sinking in! It’s nice to know people are appreciating what I’m doing ad the people at Hollyoaks
backing me. It’s nice as well because I came in with a big bunch of newcomers, it really could have been any of us, so obviouslt I’m quite glad that I was the lucky one. I was surprised but it was definitely a nice surprise.
What do you think has been the reason people have connected with Harry so much?
I think it was quite lovely because I came straight in with Harry’s big closet story line, and scenes where I’m kissing John Paul then me and Cleo having a relationship so that really pushed me straight into the limelight. He was a bit of a hero character when he first came in, and obviously since getting with Ste his popularity has soared. I won a DigitalSpy’s ‘Best Kiss’ award recently which was nice!
Well it must be nice to be given awards for your kissing ability, whether it’s on screen or not!
Yeah it’s always pleasant! It was one from quite early on, when me and Ste were in the classroom and things were about to get onto another level.
You’ve certainly had your fair share of steamy scenes during your time on the show, especially with Kieron. Does that get easier or harder the more you get to know him?
It definitely gets easier, but it was quite easy at the start. Obviously when you first do it with someone it’s always awkward because you’re not with them in real life, and it’s hard to get that passionate because you’re both faking it. But it’s fine now, I don’t even think about it, I just go in and do it! I feel other people find it a lot more awkward but for me, its part of acting – and I’ve stopped taking my shirt off as much!
We’re disappointed to hear that.
[laughs] In fairness I was half-naked on our first day back [after Christmas] so you can expect that!
Are there any standout memories that have stuck with you from your time at Hollyoaks?
I really liked the first few weeks when I joined, just because it was all fresh.But the really juicy stuff was when Kieron got gay-bashed by those two and then Harry had to deal with that and lying about being in a gay, and confront his own sexuality; that was great. I really enjoyed those episodes – but the whole thing’s been one long juicy storyline for me.
And what can fans expect for Harry and Ste in 2016?
It’s great because as far as ‘Starry’s concerned, they’ve never been closer. It’s kind of Harry and Ste against the world at this point. But I’m not sure how far I can talk about the storylines! Let’s just say it’s going to be interesting!
Obviously Starry are such a popular couple with fans online, but have you witnessed any kind of homophobic backlash? Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood recently said the show gets a lot of criticism for being ‘too gay’...
It’s quite nice because I have not been seeing many homophobic comments at all. If there were to be any negative comments, it is usually because of the age difference between Harry and Ste, even though its only less than ten years. I find it quite strange though because I know couples where one may be double the age of the other and they have perfectly fine relationships. Maybe some of the viewers are a bit young to understand that relationships can work when you’re not the same age. But I’ve not had any homophobic comments at all, which is obviously great.
Do you think that Harry and Ste’s age gap could become an issue in their relationship at some point?
Well it may be a problem because Harry might want to go to university; he’s at that age you have to make a lot of big decisions, but other than that I’d say no, I don’t really see how age can be an issue, other than maturity.
As this is you first big TV role, do a lot of people assume you’re gay in real life?
Well people have been assuming that since before I was on TV! [laughs] So it’s totally fine.
Do you have much interaction with your gay fans?
I’ve had people message me on different social media and saying so how much my storyline has helped them to come out. Or even the opposite; that they’ve appreciated it but can’t that can’t do the same thing themself – come out to their parents, that is. But it’s always nice to hear you’re making a little positive difference to people’s lives.
You gave us a bit of treat before Christmas when you and some of the other Hollyoaks boys got naked for Fabulous magazine – how was it stripping off next to you colleagues for that shoot?
Do you know what I think it looked scarier than it was! We actually had little white thongs on and there was a bit of visual trickery – not thongs, that’s not the right word! But we might as well have just been naked to be honest. I think Ashley [Taylor-Dawson] is used to it by now, he’s done loads and I obviously don’t care much about [stripping off] otherwise I wouldn’t do it every week! I always get a bit nervous but as long as you’re in alright shape it’s fine.
And you certainly are in great shape – what’s your workout regime like to maintain that?
Well it’s been about three weeks since I’ve been to the gym because of Christmas.! I try and be as active as possible and involved in sports, but I didn’t really step it up until a few years back. I try and go to gym about 5 times a week, but I don’t call myself a fitness freak. If I want to eat a pizza or something, then I do. I just try to keep myself at a nice steady shape in case I need to get topless or do those naked photo shoots!
Your award at the NTA’s is voted for by the public, so is there anything you want to say to the people out there who might be voting for you? You’re up against some big names...
Well I’m just happy to be there really. I know I’m a bit of a wildcard and obviously their shows are huge. I’d just say to the fans that might vote to reach out to whoever they can and try and put Hollyoaks
on the map. We’re smaller so we have to work that much harder, but luckily our fans are that much more passionate!
The National Television Awards will be screened live from the O2 on ITV on January 20 at 8pm. You can submit your vote here.
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