Stephanie "Steph" Roach (née Dean and previously Cunningham) was a fictional character from the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Carley Stenson. She debuted on-screen during the episode airing on 8 March 2000, the first Dean Family to be arrived, just before her family in two years. Steph was introduced into the serial by executive producer Jo Hallows. In 2009 Stenson decided to quit, but the then producer Lucy Allan convinced her to stay to play out a dramatic storyline. The announcement of her departure was made public in June 2010. Stenson's fellow cast members have described her as a "Hollyoaks legend" because of her lengthy duration.
Steph has been described as having a highly confident persona, a trait Stenson enjoyed portraying throughout. Steph is also played as "fame hungry". She is noted for a number of high-profile storylines such as the portrayal of bullying in a school environment, the portrayal of epilepsy, which Stenson felt had been a 'taboo subject' for too long.
Steph is the first Dean family to be introduced as a new student at Hollyoaks High, with early storylines focussing on her school life and best friend Zara Morgan. She frequently bullies fellow pupil Lisa Hunter (Gemma Atkinson), driving her to attempt suicide. When Steph's friends react disapprovingly, she apologises and promises to change. She cultivates a promiscuous reputation, having brief relationships with Brian and footballer Scott.
Steph discovers she has cervical cancer, and has a hysterectomy. In the aftermath, she decides to pursue a singing career and applies for The X Factor. Despite using her cancer as a sob story, she is rejected at her audition. Her cancer spreads, and though Steph has chemotherapy, she is later told that her condition is terminal. Gilly struggles to cope with her diagnosis, almost causing Steph to cancel their wedding. It goes ahead, however, and after their honeymoon, Steph begins to make plans for her impending death. When Il Gnosh, a local Italian restaurant catches fire, Steph saves Amy Barnes and her children, but chooses to remain inside and die. After Steph's funeral, her family and friends watch video messages she recorded for them prior to her death. In aftermath of her death, Frankie called Jake, Debbie and Craig and asked them to forgive their father for his affair, as Steph wanted them all to remain close to Johnno, which they agreed to do. On 11 March 2011, Cindy returns and Darren tells her about Steph and plays her the goodbye message. On 26 December, Steph made a one-off appearance as a ghost to Doug Carter.
Background Infomation Edit
- In his column for The Guardian, television critic Jim Shelley stated that it was time for Steph to go, having "suffered enough" during her tenure. Humorously recapping her ten years in Hollyoaks, Shelley wrote:
“Steph lived a rich, not to say happy, life. She was a bully and wannabe Wag, before miraculously transforming herself into the show's tragic heroine, suffering cervical cancer, epilepsy and a hysterectomy. Her husband was run over on their wedding day. Steph later slept with his killer (long story). She also watched him in horror as he threw himself off a cliff. So, unlucky in love... She reported her brother for rape, was stalked by a serial killer and inherited a donkey. It's all on Wikipedia, and I don't think it's been tampered with. I mean, who the hell could make that up?"
- In 2010, It was announced that Stenson had decided to quit the serial to pursue a career in musical theatre. She deemed it "one of the most difficult decisions [she had] ever made", stating that Hollyoaks had been her "dream job" and that she would miss her friends in the cast and crew.
- On 29th November 2011 it was confirmed Stenson was to reprise the role for a one off guest appearance as Steph in which she appears as an angel to Doug Carter who had attempted suicide and she convinces him that his life matters. Steph tells Doug something her return aired on 26th December 2011.