TV Talk: A Tremendous and Hazardous Life in Hollyoaks

By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood

Welcome to Hollyoaks, where a disaster is waiting around every corner, every single day of the week. That’s right, we are talking about the 2014 Best British Soap Opera winner, Hollyoaks! Given that the majority of our viewership is American, I’m assuming that the bulk of you haven’t heard of this game changing soap.

Hollyoaks is one of few soaps that is actually targeted towards a younger audience, between ages 16 and 35. It sits with Emmerdale, Coronation Street, EastEnders, and Doctors yearly on the panel of nominees at the British Soap Awards.

The show began in 1995 and has always been known for taking incredibly dangerous risks in their storylines. To name just a few topics that Hollyoaks has taken it upon themselves to cover, we have anorexia and bulimia (which have been used for both male and female characters), domestic abuse in a homosexual relationship, teen pregnancy, and deaths of family and friends.

Honestly, that only scratches the surface of what they cover, as they’ve covered hundreds more topics since they began in 1995. Although several of them have created societal controversy, the writers of each storyline carefully make it so each story has an excellent moral at the end, or some way that you at home can work through your issues.

Although the cast began at a very limited 15 members, it has since grown to nearly 60, each character with their own life and own storylines to cover. Not quite 20 members have been on the show for over five years at this point, as many of the originals left in 2008.

Where this would falter some shows, Hollyoaks makes it so you are just as interested in the new characters as you were in the old ones, which is something not many television shows can do anymore.

This doesn’t take away from the Hollyoaks veterans who have been on the show for over five years. In fact, it only gives you reason to love them more. This happens in the case of Tony Hutchinson (played by Nick Pickard), a character who has been on the show since 1995 and viewers have had the honor of watching him turn into the amazing character he is today. We see another character, Ste Hay (played by Kieron Richardson), go from a domestic abuser, to discovering his sexuality, to a domestic abuse victim, to losing his husband, to getting married again.

Hollyoaks gives the wonderful opportunity to watch characters grow into new people, no matter new or old. Every single one provides a different storyline and personality for people at home to connect with in some way or another. It’s a soap opera that lives on and on, as it continually receives support from communities all over the world.

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