Craig Dean is a fictional character from the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Guy Burnet. Burnet has won and been nominated for several awards for this role. Burnet departed the role in September 2007 and returned to the show on 3 September 2008 in a storyline which saw Craig secure a "sunset ending" with John Paul McQueen (James Sutton). He made another appearance after his departure in spin-off show Hollyoaks Later in November 2008. The character is regarded as one of Hollyoaks most iconic characters.
|Portrayed by||Guy Burnet|
|First appearance||24 October 2002|
|Last appearance||28 November 2008|
Phil Redmond (2002)|
Bryan Kirkwood (2008)
|Hollyoaks Later (2008)|
Craig Dean was not at first outlined as harbouring homosexual feelings or tendencies. The character was originally scripted as heterosexual, and actor Guy Burnet wanted to maintain this aspect of the character in his portrayal. He relayed, "The thing that I wanted more than anything was to convey confusion – if Craig could go and sleep with John Paul and afterwards the audience can say 'hold on a minute – maybe he's not gay'… If I've provoked that question, then I've reached the goal I wanted to reach. If I'm confused, in turn Craig is confused and so is the audience – that's the way I see it."
Burnet was at first against the writers decision to have Craig become romantically involved with another male character. "I'll always be completely honest," he stated. "I'll always be real. The truth is that it was difficult to play. It was talked about for a long while and I felt uncomfortable with the idea because I didn't think it was justifiable. I thought 'how can you make a straight guy who's a bit of a cheeky chappy, loves the girls and has a sort of camp sense of humour, gay?'" Burnet stated that he sat down with the producers of the series. "It was sitting with Bryan and the other producers, discussing it and saying 'right, if we're going to do this, it's not a story about a character being gay, it's a story where we have to justify the guy's sexual confusion – why is he like this? And the most important thing is that he still has the love for the woman in his life'". Burnet conveyed that he does not see Craig as gay or bisexual, and was adamant on the series not portraying Craig as either. "It was a love for this one person," he cited, "which threw him." Burnet detailed, "Craig was always a lonely character. He never had that many friends surrounding him, even during the times of Bombhead and Lee. These guys were in a different year to him. He was always a lone soldier." Further elaborating on Craig and John Paul's connection, Burnet stated, "JP was not only a best friend but when he came out, it was a coming to terms moment for Craig – asking himself 'perhaps these feelings are OK to have for JP and I don't want to lose him as a mate'. It's confusion but it's also a love story – an obsession almost."
Burnet revealed that his main goal within acting is to provoke a reaction. "...and I don't just want to provoke a good reaction," he noted. "I want to provoke a reaction that's hatred – hate me, but hate the character. If I've achieved that, then that's great. Variation is fantastic." He stated, "The thing about Craig – whatever character you play is always going to be slightly similar to you. Whoever says that they're completely different is lying because it's your face, its your expression – it is you." He added, however, that the personality "might be completely different" and pointed out that personality-wise he is nothing like Craig. "There are a lot of parts that are similar, things that you draw from reality," he noted.
In regards to whether or not he became comfortable with portraying Craig's sexual attraction to John Paul, Burnet clarified: "Even towards the end, it was always difficult for me… You've got to remember that the room is full of people and it's not so much that which bothers you, but you're sitting there and – this isn't meant in a homophobic way – I just didn't feel comfortable doing it. It literally would be a silent set, we'd do it and hopefully it was one take and it was out of the way. That's a genuine answer."
In late 2007, Burnet decided to leave the series, stating that he wanted to pursue other acting ventures. However, he agreed to return to the series in late 2008. "I’ve had so much support from fans since I left the show, so it’s great to have the opportunity to reprise the storyline and give viewers a resolution to the Craig and John Paul story," he revealed. In September 2012, Inside Soap named John Paul and Craig's exit as their number 1 happy ending, "This tentative, tremulous, tortured romance is still regarded by Hollyoaks fans as one of the show's greatest-ever storylines - if not the greatest. So fervently were viewers wishing for a happy ending for gay teenager John Paul and his no-I'm-not-gay-but-maybe-I-am friend Craig, the producer even promised a happy ending in advance. And so, as they flew off to Dublin together, they kissed in front of a holiday poster of a sunset. Aw!"
Burnet cited his appreciation for the show giving him a unique character to portray, while maintaining the distinct difference between John Paul's sexuality and Craig's. "I really appreciate the freedom and the opportunities that they've given me to really make something different of this storyline, not just the conventional 'coming out' storyline – it's been a sexual confusion storyline," he stated. "For James, it's been a 'coming out' storyline but for me, I really didn't want to mimic that or mirror it any way. It's important to show something different, something original and they gave me the freedom to do that. I'll never forget that."
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Craig arrives in Hollyoaks with his family; father Johnno, mother Frankie, brother Jake and sisters Debbie and Steph. He was the youngest child of the Dean Family. He uses his intelligence to manipulate Hollyoaks villagers and to pull a variety of scams. He falls for older girl Abby Davies, as she leads him on, making him believe that she fancies him. However, nothing happens in the relationship after Craig discovers that she is using him in order to make her ex-boyfriend, Lee Hunter, jealous.
Craig has a supportive side, which he uses when his sister, Steph, is attacked and is left with epilepsy by Toby Mills. Craig supports her through this and is always there for his family when they need him, as they struggle through their debts. Craig’s love life improves when he falls for the charms of another older girl, Natalie Osborne, who manages to seduce him. But she wants to keep their relationship a secret and she uses him to lose her virginity. She then starts to lose interest in him, but is taught a lesson by Craig's sisters, Debbie and Steph, who have had an intense dislike for Natalie since she arrived. Natalie then leaves Hollyoaks and Craig behind. With help from his father Johnno Dean, Craig was soon able to leave Natalie behind and move on with his life.
Craig is dealt another shock, which leaves him devastated; his father, Johnno, leaves the family after having an affair with a younger girl who became pregnant with his child. Craig, who like his sister Steph Dean had enjoyed a very close relationship with Johnno, is left heartbroken and finds it difficult to recover from this, but slowly comes to terms with it and supports his mother, Frankie, who is also in shock. Soon after, Craig becomes fiercely protective of his family and friends. The Deans then move into The Dog In The Pond pub with Jack Osborne, whom Frankie starts dating.
Craig is shocked when Johnno returns to the village and tells his family that his girlfriend has left him for someone else, and that he realises he missed his family. Craig then finds out that Johnno is lying and that he has left his girlfriend and newborn son after he decided that he did not want to be a father again at his age. Craig and Jake are disgusted by his behaviour and by him leaving his child without a father and his girlfriend without financial support. Johnno tries to make amends, but in the end decides to leave Hollyoaks to marry his younger girlfriend after Craig and Jake tell him that his new son needs him more than they do. Johnno does mail Craig a card for Craig's 18th birthday a year later, but Craig chooses not to open up to him.
Craig starts a romantic relationship with Darlene Taylor and supports her after her stepbrother, Justin Burton, pushes her through a window and later when her brother, Ali, is killed by a car. Meanwhile, Frankie and Jack marry and Darlene deals with her feelings by making up claims about his family making passes at her. This leads to her stepmother, Liz Burton, throwing her out of her house and Darlene living with the Dean/Osborne clan. Darlene starts flirting with Craig's stepbrother, Darren, and then tells Craig that Darren is the one seducing her. Craig then walks in on her having sex with Darren: an event Darren orchestrated to prove what type of person Darlene is to Craig. Craig's relationship with Darlene ends.
Craig hopes to escape Hollyoaks village after completing his A levels. He is offered a conditional place at Trinity College in Ireland, but after failing to get the right grades he decides to repeat a year at Hollyoaks Comprehensive. Meanwhile, Jake accidentally runs over Diane Valentine, causing her son, Sonny, to begin bullying Craig at school.
Through Sonny's bullying of Craig, Craig becomes friends with John Paul McQueen, Sarah Barnes, Hannah Ashworth and Nancy Hayton. After John Paul saves Craig from a beating by Sonny, Craig and John Paul become best friends and John Paul helps him stand up to Sonny. Sarah becomes Craig's girlfriend, and Hannah starts dating John Paul. Craig's relationship with Sarah takes a rocky turn after Rhys Ashworth (Sarah's ex) talks to Craig about Sarah, stating that she is a slut. Craig and Sarah have a big argument before resolving their differences.
John Paul splits up with girlfriend Hannah, blaming it on his fancying someone else; the person is soon mistakenly believed to be Sarah. When Craig catches Sarah talking to John Paul, he becomes angry and dumps Sarah, calling her a "slag" and a "slapper". John Paul later claims he made up fancying Sarah as a way of pushing Hannah away because he loves her. Craig and John Paul's friendship is then back on track, with both (the latter more half-heartedly) trying to win back their girlfriends. Craig sets out on a mission to get Sarah back; he and Sarah do get back together, but at Hannah's 18th birthday party, he catches a drunken Sarah kissing Rhys. John Paul breaks up the fight that ensues between Craig and Rhys and blurts out that Sarah is not good enough for Craig. This seemingly comes out of the blue to Craig, and he follows John Paul outside to demand what he meant by it. John Paul confessed that he said it because he was jealous of Sarah because he was in love with Craig. Craig did not see any of this coming and was shocked to lose his girlfriend and to find out that his best friend was in love with him. He managed to get over what John Paul had said, though, as long as John Paul didn't mention it again. Craig forgave Sarah for kissing Rhys. However, it was hinted that Craig might have had ulterior motives for getting back together with her.
Craig and Sarah went to the school dance together (as did John Paul and Hannah). John Paul watched as Craig and Sarah kissed on the dance floor and Sarah told Craig that she loved him. Craig told Sarah that he loved her too, but as he did so his eyes were on John Paul, across the room. At this point, John Paul left and Craig soon followed. They met in the gym and drank too much, and Craig told John Paul that he was okay with the "gayness." Craig told John Paul, "Remember this...I love you, I love you." and then kissed John Paul. Hannah saw them and told Sarah, as well as the rest of the school. The following day, they were the talk of the school and John Paul told everyone he was gay. Craig was furious with John Paul for coming out in front of their classmates, since by association people think he must be gay, too. This caused Sonny's bullying of Craig to become worse, but Craig told everyone he was not gay and that John Paul came on to him (in spite of the fact that he initiated the kiss with John Paul). In order to get on Sonny's good side during a five-a-side match, Craig repeatedly smashed into John Paul, eventually culminating in a beating (to Sonny's glee) where Craig called John Paul a queer. After punching Craig back and angrily challenging anyone else who wanted to try and fight him, John Paul ran off tearfully. Later on, Craig apologised to John Paul, but John Paul did not accept it. Craig asked John Paul "If you didn't think I was gay, then why'd'ya try it on with me?" John Paul told him to forget it and turned away. Craig tried to call out to him by stating, "Mate..." but John Paul cut him off saying, "Mate...yeah right" and walked off while Craig looked on.
Time passed and Craig and John Paul were still not talking to each other, Sarah tried to make them talk to each other. After Craig defended John Paul to Sonny and told John Paul he did not mind him being gay, John Paul said he would think about being friends again. Whilst defending John Paul to Sonny, Sonny was incredulous and asked Craig, "You one of them? 'Cause you act like it half the time," which Craig did not deny, but said that it was better than being a chauvinist bully.
Craig's jealous side began to show when he, Sarah and Hannah saw John Paul kissing his new boyfriend, Spike; Craig looked shocked and upset, as did Hannah. The two of them did not look keen when Sarah discussed John Paul and Spike in excitement. Craig then managed to get 2 tickets to a concert John Paul desperately wanted to go to. Craig told Sarah they cost him so much he could only buy two. When Craig told John Paul, John Paul refused to go without Spike. Craig showed strong disappointment at this and later admitted that he felt that by getting the tickets he and John Paul could be proper mates again. Sarah then suggested that they all just go for a drink instead of fighting about who goes to the concert. Craig was obviously envious of Spike. Whenever Spike talked, Craig snapped at him with a nasty comment. When Sarah went to talk to Craig after he walked off, he admitted that he was jealous of all the attention John Paul was giving to Spike, which used to go to him. He quickly suggested getting 4 tickets to a concert they "all like" which Sarah thought was a good idea. Craig could still be seen in a foul mood.
Weeks passed and things seemed to be back to normal between everyone. John Paul, Sarah, Craig and Hannah study for their exams, but Sarah took time out to quiz John Paul on his sex life with Spike. Craig protested, but John Paul said it was fine to talk about it. He admitted he had not tried sex yet with Spike because he thought that Spike was experienced and he was not. Craig became increasingly uncomfortable and stormed out of the McQueen house after yelling at both Sarah and Hannah. Craig blames his mood on exam stress.
Days later, John Paul was unable to continue making excuses to not be alone with Spike. He admitted to Hannah that if he slept with Spike, then he really would be gay. Spike did come 'round the McQueen house. After a very nervous conversation, he led Spike upstairs to his room.
Craig grew increasingly hostile towards Spike explaining that he was looking out for his best mate. In a fit of spite, Hannah threw the fact that John Paul was in love with Craig in Spike's face. This caused a row between John Paul and Spike where John Paul admitted he had a "school boy crush" on Craig, but that he had never felt for anyone like he felt for Spike. The argument ended in a passionate kiss in front of everyone at The Dog in The Pond.
Myra McQueen insisted that John Paul brought Spike over for tea, against John Paul's better judgement. Spike came over and met Myra and John Paul's sister Mercedes McQueen and quickly won them over. Craig arrived as they are all going to a gig, but he feels left out as John Paul and Spike teased him and later ignored him as they laugh together on the sofa. Craig overheard John Paul tell Spike he believed they had a future together. Dejected, Craig decided to leave and went without John Paul even noticing.
On 16 May 2007, Craig sees John Paul and Spike at The Dog in The Pond and goes to talk to John Paul while Spike is in the bathroom. John Paul is disappointed with Craig and reminds him Spike is his boyfriend, adding he has grown a lot in the last few months and does not fancy Craig any more.
Later, Craig has trouble concentrating during an exam. He storms out of the exam and arrives at John Paul's house, where he immediately asks for some alcohol. Instead of saying what is on his mind, Craig continues to insult Spike. John Paul accuses Craig of being jealous of Spike, but Craig denies this true statement.
Craig finally lets his emotions get the better of him. Tearing up, he asks, "When did you get over me?" John Paul admits that he still loves Craig and more so than Spike. Craig asks if he and Spike have slept together and when John Paul confirms that they have, Craig admits that he can't stop thinking about John Paul and tears streaming down his face, he kisses John Paul. They end up sleeping together. Later on, Craig rises clearly angry, dresses quickly, calls John Paul a "faggot" when he tries to touch Craig and then storms out of the house, leaving John Paul confused and upset.
Craig arrives at school the next day early, and rudely snaps at Sarah before sitting an exam. Later on after the examinations are complete, he has another heated argument with Sarah and his second hurried apology frightens her. He tells her that she disgusts him and she tells him she hates him and runs off.
John Paul attempts to speak with Craig outside The Dog in The Pond, and Craig angrily responds that John Paul has "ruined everything". John Paul replies: "You can't blame me", they argue, and finally Craig tells John Paul to stay away from him.
The next day, Craig attempts to make amends with Sarah. Whilst at the SUbar Craig and Sarah, who are joined by Spike and John Paul, speak alone and come to an agreement to stay together as long as Craig stays in line. Craig goes for more drinks and John Paul follows him to the bar. John Paul asks if he's had any time to get his head around what happened between them and Craig says he doesn't know what John Paul is talking about. John Paul tells him that he too was confused before he came out but Craig tells John Paul that he is not like Spike and he'd better keep his mouth shut as it would be Craig's word against John Paul's if anything came out.
A few weeks later, Sarah secures a modeling audition thanks to ex-boyfriend Rhys. She confides in and asks advice of John Paul about how he thinks Craig will react and how to deal with it. As they discuss this, Craig is hiding and watching, paranoid that John Paul is telling Sarah about their night of passion instigated by Craig himself. He barges into the conversation and claims that whatever John Paul is saying is not true, and not to believe him. Sarah has no idea what he is going on about, whilst John Paul understands more about Craig. When Craig learns the truth, he tells Sarah he would be happy for her to go on this modeling shoot.
The next day, after the modelling shoot, Craig is shown the pictures from the shoot and sees that they were taken of Sarah in suggestive poses with another man. Sarah assures Craig that this man is gay and there is nothing to worry about. However, John Paul later bumps into Sarah on the way to The Dog in The Pond to see Craig, and she tags along. During the meeting, Sarah receives phone calls from the guy from the shoot. Craig gets jealous and grabs the phone off Sarah telling the model to back off. John Paul advises Craig to tell Sarah the truth, so Craig tells Sarah that he is not happy that she is going to be a model. However, this infuriated Sarah very much and she storms off. Craig is later seen in his room, as John Paul greets him, only to be told that he should not have advised him to tell Sarah the truth. Later on, Sarah has another argument with Craig at The Dog in The Pond, telling him she does not want a jealous boyfriend, and leaves an upset and confused Craig. He tries to phone John Paul, who, as soon as he sees it's Craig, does not answer.
The next day, John Paul and Spike celebrate their two-month relationship. Craig repeatedly calls until finally John Paul has to answer. Craig wants to see him now, so John Paul leaves a disheartened Spike. John Paul becomes even more troubled when Craig gives him a warm hug as soon as he arrives. Then Craig tells John Paul he realized how much he means to him, he tells him they will be best mates. Realising nothing has changed, John Paul leaves upset, telling Craig to leave him alone, if he wants to pretend they never had sex, it's fine, but he does not want to be involved in his life anymore. But later, Craig turns up at the McQueens' and enters John Paul's bedroom. John Paul asks Craig to leave, but Craig refuses, closes the door behind him and starts kissing John Paul passionately. John Paul gets lost in the moment and they end up sleeping together again. Later on, Craig disentangles himself from a sleeping John Paul and looks at him confusedly, but affectionately, before he leaves.
The next day at The Dog in The Pond, Craig is sending a text saying "I love you" but he does not get round to sending it. Later he sees John Paul and seems almost glad to see him. John Paul assures Craig he does not need to rush into coming out. But Craig is still in denial and reveals he wants to be with Sarah. John Paul is stunned, but he still tries to convince Craig, saying he can take good care of him as much as Sarah. As they sit under a tree, Craig insists he's sorted everything out in his head, he is not gay, and never will be, but this does not mean that he and John Paul cannot have sex from time to time, they could still continue to see each other, no one gets hurt. John Paul reminds Craig of his love for him, and tells him he's sick of being used. An unfazed Craig tells John Paul whether he likes it or not, they both know how it's going to end up: he'll knock at John Paul's door, and John Paul will open it. John Paul doesn't answer and leaves. Craig sends the text to Sarah, then, later on, Craig convinces Sarah to take him back and as they kiss and make up, John Paul looks on, heartbroken.
The following week Craig is dreaming he is in bed with John Paul; however, he awakens and is actually with Sarah; he appears disappointed. Craig and Sarah enjoy each other's company, glad their relationship is back on track. However, Craig becomes uneasy when Sarah calls John Paul over to join them. Craig is uncomfortable in John Paul's presence. John Paul is also upset and does not want to talk to him. Later, at the McQueens', Craig turns up, angry with John Paul's earlier behaviour. As they argue, John Paul demands Craig to stay away, otherwise he will tell Sarah about Craig's secret.
A few weeks later, two of Sarah's friends from the modeling industry meet with her and Craig for a friendly get-together. Craig acts cold to the friends, particularly the male. The four dine at Il Gnosh and bump into John Paul who stays to chat for a short while before leaving, followed by Craig. Back at John Paul's house, Craig tells John Paul that he can't stop thinking about him, and although he loves Sarah, he loves John Paul too. Craig then leads John Paul upstairs where they once again sleep together.
Later, as Craig lies with John Paul in bed, his mobile phone rings, the caller ID showing that Sarah is calling him. However, Craig ignores it and goes back to sleep in John Paul's arms, leaving John Paul with a smile on his face.
A few weeks pass with Craig still confused about his sexuality. He and John Paul both agree to split with their partners to be with each other. However, Craig does not live up to his part of the bargain, leaving John Paul upset. Craig explains that he can't do it now because of the state that Sarah is in. John Paul tells him to be with his girlfriend, they kiss, leaving John Paul even more hurt.
Realising he needs to get away from things, Craig books a last-minute holiday on the internet, and sets off with Sarah, unaware of John Paul chasing the cab as it drives off but Sarah heard John Paul call out to them. While Craig is away, John Paul writes a letter to Craig's mum, explaining everything about their affair, but once he has posted it, gets cold feet about it and enlists the help of Spike to help get it back.
Craig and Sarah return from their holiday and explain to John Paul about the great time they had. Later on in John Paul's room, Craig tells John Paul that he thought about him loads while he was away. An angry John Paul shows Craig the letter that he had written to Craig's mum. Craig gets angry and John Paul shouts for him to leave. The following day, Craig approaches John Paul nervously in The Dog in The Pond and tries to talk about things. John Paul tries to blank this by talking about his fantasy team. Later, at the McQueen house, Craig tells John Paul that ending the relationship is the worst answer. John Paul shouts at Craig and knocks an iron onto his own foot. Craig jokingly asks if John Paul wants him to kiss it better. They laugh and kiss, and are later seen having slept together. Craig tells John Paul, whilst in bed that he was going to dump Sarah, but John Paul tells Craig not to ruin the moment and they embrace once again, both looking blissfully happy with each other.
In the middle of August, both Frankie Osborne and Darren Osborne are shopping at the Trafford Centre, (Manchester) and there is no one to work behind the bar in The Dog in The Pond. When Jack Osborne asks Craig to take over Darren's shift, Spike offers to take the job. Craig will do anything to make sure that Spike doesn't get the shift so accepts Jacks' request. Later on in the episode, while Craig is on his shift, John Paul comes in the pub to see Craig. Unaware that Spike is watching, John Paul and Craig get quite close and Craig asks John Paul if he'd like to come upstairs. John Paul accepts.
Jack Osborne returns to the bar to discover that Craig isn't doing his shift. Jack asks Spike if he knows where Craig is and Spike replies "He said something about going for a lie down", knowing that John Paul and Craig have just gone upstairs together. Craig and John Paul are yet again in bed together and have exchanged the 'I Love You's' when they hear Jack coming up the stairs, so John Paul hides under the covers. Jack assumes that it must be Sarah hiding under the duvet and apologises. Jack tells Spike that he did not know Sarah was with Craig upstairs – now Spike knows about the John Paul/Craig relationship. Spike enjoys teasing Craig that he knows about him and John Paul, but is secretly gutted about the affair. Sarah joins Craig and John Paul at the college to get their exam results. Craig is terrified that Spike will reveal the secret, while John Paul is determined not to worry and have fun. They celebrate at The Dog in The Pond and John Paul gets drunk with Nancy, not knowing Craig spends much of the exam celebrations watching John Paul longingly wishing he was with him.
However, desperate not to be outed, Craig plays on John Paul's sense of chivalry and tells him that after what Sarah has already gone through with her family, their relationship should remain a secret. John Paul is persuaded to go and talk to Spike but wonders if Craig is aware how much this is hurting him. Spike reassures John Paul he won't talk but warns him Craig does not really love him. John Paul appreciated his concern but tells Spike he and Craig love each other and not to ruin things for him.
Craig is unconvinced Spike will keep quiet and the lads square up after exchanging words. Sarah is certain something is up when she arrives on the scene and overhears them. Spike takes off, leaving Craig to extricate himself out of the situation. Suspecting there is another girl, Sarah demands to know who she is. Craig is clearly upset and about to tell the truth at last when he backs out the last minute and latches on to the only thing he thinks a girl wants to hear... "Will You Marry Me?!" Sarah is relieved and delighted, accepting his marriage proposal instantly, although it appears as if Craig does not want to marry Sarah and only proposed because he does not want anyone to find out about his relationship with John Paul.
Craig asks Sarah to keep the truth of their engagement a secret. In the meantime, he continues his relationship with John Paul, giving him a watch that had belonged to his grandfather, inscribed with 'Love always', without telling him about his proposal. He does not buy Sarah's engagement ring, showing his true feelings are for John Paul, though he is too scared to admit it publicly. However, John Paul becomes increasingly frustrated about Craig's ongoing refusal to make a final decision – him or Sarah. The final straw comes when Sarah tells Frankie about the engagement, without telling him. Craig is initially upset, mainly because he had not told the truth to John Paul. When John Paul arrives at a party thrown by Frankie and discovers the truth, he drags Craig upstairs and demands he choose: him or Sarah? In response, Craig begins to kiss John Paul passionately. Still not convinced about Craig's commitment, John Paul texts Sarah on Craig's phone and asks Sarah to come upstairs. She reads the text and comes upstairs and walks in on Craig and John Paul kissing, leaving her horrified and Craig speechless.
Craig immediately attempts to convince Sarah that it was a misunderstanding. That he had not been kissing John Paul. Sarah does not believe him. Despite his attempts to stop her, Sarah goes downstairs to the Dog and outs him to the stunned onlookers. Craig tries to convince Sarah, and his family that he is not gay. While the rest of the Dean family turns on John Paul, Craig desperately tries to apologize to Sarah. Sarah demands to know why Craig would propose to her when he was sleeping with John Paul. When Craig breaks down and does not answer her, Sarah lashes out and begins to hit him. When Sarah leaves, in her father's arms, Craig tries to explain to his family, but is faced with a disgusted Jake and a disbelieving Frankie. Frankie demands that Craig go to Sarah and explain, get her to forgive him and go to Dublin. Instead, Craig storms out to confront John Paul, who is still outside. Craig is furious, and demands to know why he did it and implies in a fit of rage that John Paul was just his little secret and nothing more. But the tables are turned when John Paul responds that he is sorry he sent the text, but that he has no sympathy for Craig, calling him a coward for not accepting his sexuality or responsibility for anything.
The next morning, Craig faces his family and friends again, with Jake and Nancy angry at him. Later, when Craig overhears Jake calling him a queer, he corrects him and says it is called gay. He then leaves to see Sarah. John Paul calls Craig, just as he leaves and Craig answers, but John Paul appears too upset to speak and hangs up before saying anything, much to Craig's anguish. When Craig gets to Sarah's house, Nancy attempts to stop him from seeing her, but Sarah asks him to come in, having already admitted to Nancy that she still loves Craig. He apologises again for what has happened. Sarah demands to know why he felt that he could not tell her. Craig, very determined, tells her that he does not blame her for hating him, and is shocked when she says that she still loves him. Believing Craig is going through a phase, she says they can leave it all behind them and make a fresh start in Dublin. Craig responds by saying what he did was stupid and unforgivable. He says that he still loves Sarah and means everything he ever said to her, but that he really loves John Paul and that he wants to be with him. Craig tells Sarah that he at least owes it to her to say that to her himself. Sarah is devastated, and tries begging him but his resolve is firm – he wants John Paul. Craig then goes to see John Paul. However, Nancy maliciously and incorrectly tells John Paul that Craig is at Sarah's begging her to take him back and that John Paul should stay away from him. John Paul is devastated by this, thinking wrongly that Craig has let him down again. Craig knocks on the McQueen's door desperate to talk to John Paul, but despite his pleas, John Paul will not talk to him. Craig returns home dejected. Seeing that Craig is visibly upset, Frankie asks what is wrong, to which Craig replies, "its over mum" and starts to cry. Frankie assumes he is talking about Sarah and tries to tell him she will come 'round. Craig being actually upset at John Paul's rejection, completely breaks down, unable to tell Frankie what has happened.
The next day, Jake taunts Craig and tells him that he is disgusting whilst Frankie pressures Craig to get Sarah back. Craig finally shouts in frustration that he does not want Sarah, to his brother's disgust. As Steph walks in on the confrontation, oblivious to what has happened, Frankie insists that Craig loves Sarah. Finally pushed too far, he shouts at his mother that he loves John Paul, not Sarah. Later, Craig walks with his family in the village when they run into the McQueens. While the Deans and the McQueens face off, Craig and John Paul gaze silently and longingly at each other, ignoring their families; the two eventually run off together alone, which is only noticed by Michaela. They talk and John Paul is shocked when Craig tells him honestly that he wants him and not Sarah and that he loves him and does not care who knows it. The two support each other when they reveal their relationship to their families. Craig is insistent and brave in the face of both families questions, saying that it is not about being gay, just about who you fall in love with and tells Frankie that it does not matter if he goes away, that he will still love John Paul. But Craig is hurt when only Steph supports him, saying it is all "dead romantic". John Paul tries to reassure him that all families act that way. But although he loves John Paul, Craig is still unsure about himself and his families reaction. When the two are out together, Craig's insecurities get the better of him and he imagines that everyone is laughing at him and he runs off. He doesn't like being thought of as gay and is uncomfortable in public around John Paul. Darren does not help, by winding Craig up and telling him to get over himself. Craig then asks John Paul to leave with him and come to Dublin and start a new life together, both of them completely happy that they will run off together and be with each other.
At the airport, however, an encounter with Craig's brother, Jake, turns Craig and John Paul's relationship sour. Craig tries to convince his brother that he is not gay and still likes girls, but that he fell in love with John Paul because he cannot help who he falls in love with. John Paul, who overhears the exchange, soon asks Craig to kiss him while in line to get their luggage checked in. Craig cannot bring himself to kiss John Paul, much to John Paul's distress. Upset, John Paul feels that he has forced Craig to choose him, not knowing that Craig has twice rejected Sarah's offers of a reconciliation. John Paul says that he loves Craig with all his heart, but he deserves more than being with a man who cannot display romantic affection towards him in public. He ends their relationship and reluctantly walks away. Craig, in grief, says to John Paul, "Don't leave me." But John Paul appears not to hear him. Craig checks in for his flight, but turns back, running down the escalator looking for John Paul, but John Paul has already left. Craig goes back up the escalator in tears.
Frankie takes in a foster child in order to fill the void that Craig left. Foster child Newt takes over Craig's room and takes out all of Craig's belongings as soon as he can. He taunts the Deans about Craig being gone. Craig is repeatedly mentioned after his exit, with Jake taunting John Paul with the news that Craig is having fun and seeing girls, and Frankie claiming that Craig will not come home for Christmas because he does not want to deal with John Paul. On Christmas Day, Craig sends a text message to John Paul wishing him a Merry Christmas and saying that he misses him and would like to see him in Dublin sometime. In March, Frankie tells the local priest that her son is gay, suggesting that her attitude has softened a bit.
In March 2008, John Paul starts a relationship with Catholic priest Kieron Hobbs. John Paul admits to Hannah that he will never love anyone as much as he loves Craig; Hannah warned him that he "couldn't let someone ruin their life because he was still in love with his ex" but also tells him that he should try and move on, like she herself did after her relationship with him. Unfortunately, for Kieron, John Paul informs him that he is still in love with Craig and that they temporarily ended their relationship. Several weeks later, John Paul claims to be over Craig, and begins a romantic relationship with Kieron, first in secret and later – after being revealed by John Paul's mother Myra at Craig's sister Steph's wedding – out in the open. Craig is mentioned several times leading up to the wedding, as Kieron thinks that Craig might have told John Paul about it, but John Paul makes it clear that he and Craig are no longer in contact with each other and that he prefers not to talk about Craig. In June 2008, Craig couldn't attend Steph's wedding, alongside with Johnno and Debbie.
Craig returns on 2 September 2008. Following his return, John Paul's life is thrown into turmoil, prompting his relationship with Kieron to draw to an end. Things are awkward between Craig and John Paul, such as hugging outside The Dog in The Pond and being caught by Kieron. Craig encourages John Paul to get back with Kieron to hide that he is still in love with him, but after a pint at the SU Bar Piatza, Craig goes to the McQueens' house to emotionally confess that he is still in love with John Paul. After refusing two kisses from Craig, John Paul gives in and the pair share a quick kiss. Craig asks John Paul if he wishes he did come to Dublin. His reply is "No". Craig grabs him by the neck and says to swear that he wants him and if he does not, then he will never see him again. John Paul cannot resist and the pair kiss and make love/have sex with each other. After Niall kills Kieron he texts John Paul, which he receives in bed with Craig. John Paul returns to the flat to find Kieron dead. Niall is told by John Paul the news which he tells Steph, who tells a happy and in love Craig, who is shocked because all he wants is John Paul back. The next morning Craig goes to the McQueens to be dumped by John Paul. At the skate park, Myra is disgusted by John Paul's behaviour. John Paul gives Carmel away on her wedding day, where he sees Craig at the loft. They decide to have a drink the following day in which they say goodbye, although Craig gives John Paul a one-way ticket to Dublin. After messages and phone calls, Craig thinks his and John Paul's relationship is over; John Paul runs to The Dog in The Pond with his bag and misses Craig by a couple of minutes. He rushes to the train station where Craig is getting the train to the Airport. John Paul makes it to the platform just as the train is leaving, but looks across the platforms and sees Craig at another platform. They rush to each other and embrace, and John Paul tells Craig that he loves him. Craig kisses him mid-sentence in front of the crowd and a sunset poster, showing that he is no longer afraid to show public affection towards John Paul. John Paul and Craig board the train hand in hand. While the train leaves, Craig tells John Paul that when they get to Dublin, John Paul must tell everyone he is Craig's cousin Steve. John Paul looks at Craig in exasperation and Craig smiles, as he tells him he was joking. They ride the train away while cuddling with each other.
On 24 November 2008, Craig met up with his sister Steph Cunningham and Tom Cunningham in Scotland for a holiday at a remote cottage, having e-mailed the details to Steph previously. Craig later reveals that this is because John Paul needed time to himself after going out on late night benders following the death of his sister Tina and his ex-fiancé Kieron. Upon arriving Steph and Craig are shocked to discover the cottage is owned by a man called Pete who is a nudist. After helping them settle in Pete leaves Craig and Steph to have a good holiday. Niall, having found the address of the cottage on Steph's laptop, has also arrived in Scotland to seek out Steph to try to make things up to her. He then puts himself up in a barn across from the cottage so that he can spy on Steph and Tom. When Craig goes out for the afternoon Niall approaches the cottage and breaks in putting Steph on edge; after hearing someone else coming, Niall escapes the cottage, injuring himself in the process. Later the same day, Steph and Craig take Tom to play football in the fields and Tom comes across the barn where Niall has been staying. Niall, thinking he has got his opportunity to meet Steph, prepares to make an appearance when he is shocked to discover that Craig is also present. He then puts his plans on hold. Later that evening Craig once again goes out with Pete the owner of the cottage, who also reveals himself to be gay, but Craig says that he is only in love with one bloke John Paul. While the pair chat Niall sneaks into the bedroom where Tom Cunningham is sleeping and he persuades Tom that Craig sent him, making the youngster follow him off into the night.
The following day Steph and Craig are distraught that Tom is missing, but Niall lets their fear build and then makes contact with the pair. He then gives them a deal: if Steph meets with him then he will return Tom safely, but Niall's plan goes wrong and Tom escapes. Angry that he has been tricked by a child, he sets out to find Steph himself, and arrives back at the cottage where Tom has found Craig. Niall surprises the pair and ties Craig up and locks Tom in another room. Steph then returns and is shocked to be face to face with Niall. They then talk to each other with Niall desperate for her to love him. Steph then goes along with his plans for them to play happy families, despite her brother and Tom being locked away. Niall then goes upstairs to talk to Tom about how he would feel if he and Steph become his parents and then they can move away and be a happy family. Tom, however, chooses to live with Steph and Mandy Richardson. Niall, feeling rejected by Tom, leaves him and Craig locked up in the cottage and takes Steph away to the barn where he has been staying. At the barn he sets up a meal for them and the pair talk about Niall's behaviour and the hurt that he has caused, mentioning things like Niall running down and killing Max Cunningham, the church explosion, the death of Tina and murdering Kieron Hobbs. Niall manages to convince Steph that he's willing to change, but Steph claims she needs the toilet and Niall shows her through to another section of the barn. While in the other room Steph uses her mobile phone to call the police, but she is cut off when Niall suddenly appears behind her and crushes it. Back at the cottage, Pete arrives back to check on things and discovers Craig tied up. He frees him and then they go and check on Tom. Craig then asks Tom where Niall took him the previous day, believing Niall will have taken Steph to the same place, but Tom is not sure.
In the barn Niall ties up Steph and tells her that he feels betrayed by her, but she knocks him out and manages to escape into the fields. Niall then gives chase and screams after Steph; Craig, who has been looking for her, hears Niall shouting and follows them. Niall traps Steph on a cliff edge and she warns him not to come any closer. He then tries to take their lives by throwing himself and Steph over the edge off the cliff. Craig then appears and tells Niall that Steph does not love him and to let her go. Niall then beats Craig in a bloody mess while Steph watches helpless. Craig then tells Niall to look at Steph who is scared by him and his behaviour. Niall then asks Steph if this is true and she confirms it. Angry and alone, Niall throws Craig into Steph's arms, kisses her briefly and then rips off the necklace he got her and walks to the edge of the cliff. Steph helps Craig up and then hears Niall say "Goodbye, Steph" just before he steps backward over the edge, jumping off the cliff, falling onto a pile of rocks below, ultimately leading to his death. Steph watches helplessly as Niall lies motionless below; Craig holds her pulling her away from the edge and Niall's body.
On 28 November, the day after Niall dies, Craig returns to Hollyoaks with Steph and Tom. Steph is worried about what people will say regarding Niall and that she might be blamed by the McQueens for his death. Craig offers Steph the chance to go with him back to Dublin, bringing Tom along. Steph declines the offer and Craig leaves Hollyoaks to return to Dublin with John Paul.
In November 9, 2010, Craig was devastated when his sister Steph had died in a fire, and had cancer. He didn't attend the funeral, along with his siblings Jake and Debbie and his father Johnno, although his mother had informed him of her death. On 18 December 2012 John Paul is seen chasing a bus which Craig is on, it is later explained that they have split up and Craig has left. Chloe (baby Matthew's surrogate mother) later informs John Paul that Craig is seeing someone else - a woman.
In 2017, Craig rings John Paul as he is about to board a plane to Singapore, hinting to a reunion between the two. In October 2017, following Frankie's death from a stroke, Craig can't attend her funeral as he is in Singapore and has reunited with John Paul.
Craig Dean is considered one of Hollyoaks' most iconic characters. In response to the fan mail the character receives, Burnet stated, "I've had a lot of fan mail and I haven't replied to all of them and I'm really sorry. But I promise I really will reply to everyone." He further revealed, "There was a point where I was completely focused on the storyline and I didn't go and collect the mail for a period of time. I managed to send off about 200 or so letters. But everyone who did send me letters, I've read them all and I really appreciate all the words. In time, I will write back to everyone. More than anything, they are the most important thing to me. Fan appreciation is great – I even appreciate if they don't like Craig, hate him even." Burnet added that he was "genuinely overwhelmed" by all of the attention. "I'm not from an acting background," he stated, "and for three or four years I was perhaps in the background and a lot of fans probably didn't recognise I was there. That was fine for me but I wanted to prove my worth."
Burnet's pairing with actor James Sutton, as Craig and John Paul, has also been successful, winning several LGBT awards. "The gay community likes the story in some ways and I love that," cited Burnet. "In some ways, I sympathise with a lot of people who have come out and it's been difficult for them. I hope that I've justified it not just for them but for people in different positions, people in positions of sexual confusion. It's for them that I hope they've enjoyed the story."
- "Inside Out: Health check: Guy Burnet". Liverpool Daily Post. 5 November 2002. Retrieved 17 September 2011.
- News » Hollyoaks » Channel 4
- "'Late Night Hollyoaks' for E4". Digital Spy. 2008-06-05. Retrieved 2008-06-08.
- Green, Kris (2007-09-11). "EXCLUSIVE: Guy Burnet". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-08-17.
- Green, Kris (2008-06-09). "EXCLUSIVE: Craig Dean returns to 'Hollyoaks'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-08-19.
- "Inside Soap's Top Ten Happy Endings!". Inside Soap. Hachette Filipacchi UK (38): 43–44. 22–28 September 2012.
- "Craig Dean Returns to Hollyoaks". Channel 4. 10 June 2008. Archived from the original on 12 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11.
- Hollyoaks spoilers
- Guy Burnet quits Hollyoaks
- Green, Kris (2007-11-03). "'Hollyoaks' honoured at Stonewall Awards". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2008-08-17.