Actor James Sutton, best known for playing John Paul McQueen in Channel 4’s long-running soap Hollyoaks, is to reprise his role after a four-year absence from the show.

According to Digital Spy, it is thought that he will be back on screen in time for Christmas.

Sutton first joined Hollyoaks in September 2006 as John Paul McQueen.

The character came out as gay and started having a relationship with his best friend, Craig Dean, played by the actor Gus Burney.

The two had a tumultuous romance over the course of a year and then fled to Ireland together at the end of 2008. The storyline was nominated for, and won, many awards.

Hollyoaks was named “Broadcast of the Year” at the 2007 Stonewall Awards.

The gay rights charity gave the accolade for its “sympathetic and convincing handling” of a “gritty and emotional” storyline.

On receiving the award, Sutton said: “Stonewall is such an important organisation and it’s amazing that we’ve been recognised by them for all the hard work we put into the storyline.”