Melanie "Mel" Burton is a fictional character from the long-running Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by actress Cassie Powney. She first appeared in 1996 with her family, which included her twin sister Sophie, played by Powney's real life twin Connie Powney.
Mel was an attractive and sometimes aggressive 11 years old girl with her share of insecurities. Mel came to Hollyoaks in 1996 to attend Hollyoaks Community College. She arrived as a fresher and became friends with Robbie Flynn and Joe Spencer. Mel began to fall for Darren Osborne, but when the pair had slept together Darren made it clear that it was just a one-night stand. Her family soon arrived in Hollyoaks, including her twin sister Sophie. Mel strongly resented of her sister being in Hollyoaks as she feared that she would get more attention than her, especially as she was to join HCC as well. Unlike Sophie, Mel was quiet and introverted and often felt inferior to her more outgoing sister. Mel and Sophie began dating respectively Max Cunningham and Sam "O.B." O'Brien, who initially couldn't tell them apart. While Mel was originally partnered with Max, he soon realised he preferred Sophie and Mel became closer to O.B.
Things didn’t get any easier for Mel, as her mother Liz’s partner Richard moved in with the Burtons with his two children and Mel found it hard to live with her mother’s new partner. During Liz and Richard’s wedding, Mel learned the truth about her father’s death, that he had committed suicide. Mel’s younger brother Justin went off the rails, while Mel also couldn’t understand her father’s actions and turned to drink. Her behaviour became out of control as she began having drunken one night stands before beginning a proper relationship with O.B. Despite the pair seeming compatible, Mel’s drinking often got in the way, which led to Mel finishing her relationship with OB.
At the SU bar summer party 2005 Mel got extremely drunk and thought that she still lived in her old house, smashing a window with a statue of a tiger. The police arrested Mel for being drunk and disorderly. The following day she woke up in a police cell and had no idea why she was in there. Mel was then released and vowed to give up drinking but once again failed.
One night when she was drunk, Mel had unprotected sex with a stranger and feared that she had caught a sexually transmitted infection. Luckily, tests for STIs came back negative. Mel curbed her drinking problem to an extent after this traumatic experience, but she still hadn't overcome her alcoholism.
Serial date-rapist Andy Holt targeted the Burton sisters around Christmas 2005. He spiked Mel and Sophie's drinks with the date rape drug GHB after getting an invite to their house. Although Andy raped Mel that night, Sophie escaped a similar fate because Andy's fellow rapist Sam Owen decided that he couldn't hurt Sophie because he had genuine feelings for her.
After the rape, Mel and Sophie recovered from the drowsiness of the drugs enough to piece together that Andy had supposedly raped them both, although they were still unaware that Sam had been involved. Mel and Sophie went to the police to make their accusations, but Andy disappeared before he could be charged. Tests by the police proved that Sophie had not been raped, causing friction between the sisters as they wondered why only Mel had been raped. Turning once again to alcohol to block out her problems, Mel fell into a drink-induced coma on New Year's Eve 2005. While she was in hospital being treated, Mel admitted to Liz that she had been raped. Mel carried on drinking despite OB trying to help Mel get through her problems.
While attending a funfair with OB, Mel spotted Andy and managed to track him down just in time after he had taken Nicole, Russ and Sam Owen hostage. Mel gave Andy a taste of his own medicine as Mel drugged Andy with Date Rape GHB and tied him up. Mel grabbed a pole and violently hit Andy around the head with it, which knocked Andy unconscious for about ten minutes. When Andy awoke Mel called him a coward and a bully. Andy managed to escape whilst Mel was untying Nicole, Russ and Sam, Mel realised he escaped and chased after him which led to Andy facing his own woeful death as he was impaled on a sharpened spike as he ran into the unlit warehouse cellar. Despite Andy finally getting what he deserved, it wasn’t enough for Mel who continued to drink heavily. Eventually it was discovered that Sam Owen was Andy's date-rape partner in crime and Sophie managed to trick him into surrendering at the police station.
OB offered Mel a job at the nightclub he and Max were managing at the time, The Loft. Max was reluctant for Mel to work there because of her drink problem and Mel soon developed a rivalry with Max's girlfriend Clare Devine, after Clare saw Mel drinking behind the bar instead of working. One night while babysitting Max's brother Tom with OB, Mel filled a coke can with vodka and Tom drank some, leading to him becoming ill. When Max found out what Mel had done, he fired her from The Loft. However while Max was away Mel continued to work for OB and walked in on Clare having a fling with Sean Kennedy in the nightclub office. Clare used Mel's drinking problem against her to convince Max and OB that she was lying, although OB later sided with Mel, ending his friendship with Max.
After failing her degree Mel carried on drinking until Sophie took a bottle of vodka away from her that she had been hiding in her wardrobe. Consequently, the girls had a fight at the top of the stairs. As Mel tried to grab the vodka she accidentally pushed Sophie downstairs leaving her sister unconscious and fighting for her life in hospital. Sophie thankfully survived and forgave Mel who began attending a support group for her drink problem.
Mel began working at the salon Evissa with Sophie and slept with Warren Fox. Mel thought they were now a couple but Warren later told her that it was just a one off leaving her heartbroken. Mel then got a job with a team called Zedex and her manager asked her to join them for a drink at the local pub. Initially Mel turned down the offer but then reluctantly agreed. Mel got very drunk and upon returning home she searched through all the cupboards for some vodka, trashing plates and throwing things around the room. The next day Mel could not remember what had happened so Sophie told her everything. When Mel went to work she got sacked for making a fool of herself and losing some private Zedex papers and being hours late. After this Mel never touched a drop of alcohol again.
Mel, along with Sophie, moved in with Louise Summers after Liz moved away and sold the Burton house. She was unemployed for a short while but was given her old job back at the salon. Mel managed to catch Clare once again cheating on Max, as she saw her sleeping with Warren on CCTV footage. After successfully recording the footage, Mel turned to OB with the evidence as the pair confronted a worried Clare in the pub The Dog in The Pond on 8 September 2006. However, Sam Owen had escaped from prison and burst into the pub, setting the place on fire. Mel and Sophie died in the explosion along with Sam, student Olivia Johnson and Mel's friend Joe Spencer. Mel was last seen jumping on Sam in an attempt to stop him attacking Sophie. Mel's charred body was later seen by OB in the pub.
The irony of Mel's death is that she managed to quit drinking only to end up dying in a pub. Mel continued to have an effect even months after her death. In a moment of hurt and anger, OB told Max he blamed him for Mel's death (since Mel had gone to the pub to confront Clare). Later still, when her brother Justin overheard Clare taunt OB by saying Mel's and Sophie's death's were "two for the price of one" in July 2007, an enraged Justin pushed her off the balcony at The Loft. Also in 2008 Leila was trying to be a fortune teller on Justin and said there was a blonde girl from beyond the grave calling out for him. He took it angrily, she didn't know Sophie and Mel had died and apologised.