Diane Hutchinson (neé Drinkwell, also O'Connor) is a fictional character from the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Alex Fletcher. In 2010, Hollyoaks series producer, Paul Marquess, embarked on the show's rejuvenation and axed a number of cast members. To compensate for the departures, the character of Diane and her family were created and introduced. Fletcher's casting was announced in June 2010 and she began filming her scenes in the same month. The actress said working on the show is practical as she does not have to relocate. She made her first on-screen appearance on 1 September 2010. Diane was introduced with her husband, Rob (Gary Cargill), and stepchildren, Sinead (Stephanie Davis) and Finn (Connor Wilkinson/Keith Rice). The O'Connors were one of three families introduced throughout the year. In March 2016, Fletcher announced her exit from the show due to her being pregnant. The actress will leave the show in May and the character not long after.
Diane is described as a "loving wife" who is a "devoted stepmum". Fletcher told Daniel Kilkelly of Digital Spy that Diane is a good person as she has brought up two children who are not biologically hers. When asked how Diane compares to Jacqui Dixon, a character Fletcher played in Brookside, she said that Diane "hasn't got so much of a sting in her tail". Diane's career is important to her, but not as much as it was for Jacqui. Diane is a lot more sensitive and grown-up. Fletcher said that Diane is a little bit over the top, but hoped that she would be quite likeable. The actress added that she really wants people to like Diane and be able to relate to her. Diane is a marketing worker and is training to work for the local council. Fletcher explained to OK! that Diane is the "rock of the family". Fletcher explained that Diane has a great relationship with Sinead and Finn and that she did not want Diane to be "the wicked stepmother". In 2012, Fletcher told a reporter from K9 magazine that being a mother herself helped her connect with Diane and play a motherly role. She added that Diane is "a really caring person but a bit nosey with it" because she is always keeping "a beady eye on" Sinead.
Diane completes a round of In vitro fertilisation treatment and takes a pregnancy test, which reveals she is not pregnant. She goes to the hospital to discuss other options for conceiving children and returns with a baby boy. Diane tells her stepdaughter, Sinead, that the baby was abandoned at the hospital. Diane intends to raise the baby as her own, however he becomes ill and Sinead tells the nurse, Lynsey Nolan (Karen Hassan). Lynsey discovers the truth and attempts to return the baby, but Diane refuses to hand him over. Lynsey threatens to report Diane to the police, but Anita Roy (Saira Choudhry) forces Lynsey to hand the baby over to Diane. Diane learns that teenager, Amber Sharpe (Lydia Lloyd-Henry), is pregnant and planning to terminate her pregnancy. Amber agrees to have the baby and let Diane raise it as her own. Diane discovers that her stepson, Finn, is the father of Amber's baby and tells Amber that she cannot raise the baby.
- 2014: Diane sprays herself with perfume as Finn spray paints on the wall behind them.
- 2014-2015: Diane sprays herself with perfume, in a scene of ribbons.
- 2015: Diane exchanges lipstick with Sinead, who draws a heart on the screen before rubbing it out.
- 2015-2016: Diane turns towards the camera as the screen behind her moves.
- 2016: Diane kisses Tony as sky lanterns rise into the air.
- 2016- 2019: Diane kisses Tony at a Funfair.
- 2019-: Diane dances with Tony, Scott and Sinead outside The Hutch