Duncan Button is a fictional character from the BritishChannel 4soap opera, Hollyoaks, played by Dean Aspen. He debuted on-screen in the episode airing on 2 November 2009. Duncan was originally credited as Duncan Smith until he was credited as Button. In May 2011, it was announced that Aspen had quit his role and Duncan departed the series on 11 November 2011. Aspen reprised his role as Duncan for the sixth series of Hollyoaks Later in October 2013.
In July 2009, at the Hollyoaks Press Day series producer Lucy Allan revealed that a mysterious character called Duncan would arrive in the village. In October 2009, it was revealed that Duncan would be the godson of established characters Neville (Jim Millea) and Suzanne Ashworth (Suzanne Hall). In the same month it was announced that Hollyoaks series producer Lucy Allan had cast television newcomer Dean Aspen in the role of Duncan. To prepare for the role, Aspen revealed that he has to shave every day, as well as having to put on a stone and a half in weight.
In January 2010, it was announced that Lucy Allan had stepped down from the position of series producer and that Paul Marquess had taken over the role. It was soon revealed that Marquess planned to give Hollyoaks a “shake up”, changing the production team and beginning a cast cull by axing three established characters – Neville, Suzanne and Josh Ashworth (Sonny Flood). As well as the axings, Emma Rigby who played Hannah had chosen to quit the previous year, bowing out in February 2010. However, it was revealed that the character of Duncan would remain in the series after the Ashworth’s departure along with Rhys Ashworth (Andrew Moss), the family’s eldest son.
In May 2011 it was announced that Aspen had decided to leave the serial in order to pursue other projects. Discussing his departure Aspen said: “I have had an absolutely brilliant time playing Duncan – I feel like Hollyoaks have paid me to laugh, but, after two years, I really feel the time is right for a new challenge.”
In September 2013, it was revealed through spoiler pictures that Aspen had reprised his role as Duncan for the sixth series of Hollyoaks Later, which would air during early October. It was shown that Duncan would be training in the army alongside central character, Louie McQueen (Bryan Parry) as his cousin and Duncan’s friend Theresa McQueen (Jorgie Porter) visits them.
In an interview with entertainment website Digital Spy speaking of Duncan’s friendship with fellow teenager Ricky Campbell (Ashley Margolis), Lucy Allan said, “Ahh, Duncan and Ricky! I love them. If you look at who Max [Cunningham] (Matt Littler) and O.B. (Darren Jeffries) were when they were teenagers… They had an innocence and a naïvety to them that the show was lacking at the time. I actually wrote Max and O.B.’s storylines when they were youngsters and they spent about six months trying to get Chloe [Bruce] (Mikyla Dodd) into bed in a burger van! There’s a joy in Ricky and Duncan that shouldn’t be ignored. They’re just trying to get laid – Duncan in particular, by whatever means necessary. Even if that means suggesting that his sexuality isn’t what it is. And Ricky has a secret, so we’ll meet elements of his family…”