|Created by||Phil Redmond|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|No. of episodes||5,487|
|Executive producer||Bryan Kirkwood|
|Camera setup||Single-camera setup|
|Running time||25 minutes (including adverts)|
|Production company||Lime Pictures|
|Original network||Channel 4
|Original release||23 October 1995 (1995-10-23) –
|Related shows||Hollyoaks: In the City|
Since 2001, episodes have been aired on E4 a day before its broadcast on Channel 4.
At its inception, the soap was targeted towards an adolescent and young adult audience, but now has broadened its appeal to all age groups.
It has famously covered many taboo subjects rarely seen on British television.
Beginning with a cast of 14 characters, it now has upwards of 50 regular cast members.
After he left his role in 2009, a number of producers worked on the show, resulting in a number of creative reinventions and changes in direction during this time.
Lucy Allan was named as Kirkwood's successor.
In 2010, Allan announced she was to step down from the series after only a year, being replaced by Paul Marquess.
Speaking of her decision, Allan stated: "I am very proud to have been part of the Hollyoaks team.
I've had a fantastic time working on this show but am now equally excited about what the future will hold."
On his upcoming role of series producer, Marquess said: "Taking up this position at Lime Pictures feels like I'm going home, as I began my career working with both Carolyn [Reynolds] and Tony [Wood] at Granada and my first major project was Brookside at Mersey Television.
I'm a huge soap fan so to be handed the reins of Channel 4's flagship teen drama is not only a huge challenge but also a massive honour."
Lime Pictures creative director Tony Wood added: "I'd like to thank Lucy Allan for making such a contribution to Hollyoaks over the years and wish her well for the future.
It's very exciting to be working with Paul Marquess again.
He's one of the best showrunners in the business.
This is a brilliant appointment for Hollyoaks."
Only one day after being announced as the new producer, Marquess began work on the soap opera.
A Channel 4 spokesperson stated: "It's all been a very quick turnaround at the top.
It was announced in January 2011 that Marquess would leave his role as series producer and would be succeeded by Hollyoaks production team member Gareth Philips.
Discussing the news, Philips said: "I have really enjoyed working in the script team at Hollyoaks and it will be a huge honour to take the reins of Channel 4's flagship youth drama.
I am very excited about taking the show even further this year with more compelling and brave stories."
Emma Smithwick later replaced Philips in autumn 2011.
In late-September 2012, it was announced that Kirkwood would be returning to Hollyoaks, replacing Smithwick.
On 3 September 2020, Kirkwood announced his exit as showrunner.
In a statement, he said: "For many years I have had the privilege of running a soap opera with a fiercely loyal audience.
I passionately believe that soaps can help viewers start serious conversations about their lives and in recent years we have covered important topics within mental health, sexual consent, Far-Right radicalisation, male rape, sexual abuse and many issues other shows might look away from."
Channel 4's director of programmes, Ian Katz, thanked Kirkwood for his work, stating: "I'm immensely grateful for his steering of the show safely back to screen next week and leaving it in top creative form and I wish him all the best for his next chapter."
Allan was again named as Kirkwood's successor.
Opening titles and tune
The original style of this sequence has changed on many occasions.
It was announced on 19 June 2010 that new titles with a new theme tune, which was reportedly "slowed right down", would be used in new series producer Paul Marquess' first episode, which aired on 5 July 2010.
However, on 2 July, the titles were delayed for one week.
The titles were then delayed for a second time due to "technical difficulties".
On 10 September 2010, Channel 4 confirmed the new Hollyoaks titles and theme music would air from 13 September.
However, the titles were different from pictures of filming of the original credits, suggesting a reshoot was the reason for the delay.
Marquess commented: "We're very excited about the new titles that the viewers will see on Channel 4 on Monday.
They're glossy, contemporary and very Hollyoaks."
He then apologised for the delay, saying: "We're sorry to the fans who have been waiting to see them, but they've taken a while to perfect.
I'm very happy with them and I hope that the fans like the new-look show."
It was announced in August 2016 that a new title sequence would begin airing from 5 September 2016, which would launch the show's "action-packed Autumn storyline".
The new title sequence features shots of characters on the show's set.
Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said of the titles, "I am thrilled with the new titles.
I think they are vibrant, fun and glossy and from the first opening guitar riff feel completely Hollyoaks."
Shots from the new title sequence included Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) riding a carousel with his children, Leah Barnes (Ela-May Dermican) and Lucas Hay (William Hall), Sienna Blake (Anna Passey) lying on a bed of petals, and Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) appearing in the village dressed in a "striking red dress".
On 13 May 2019, a new title sequence, as well as altered theme music, was launched; for the new sequence, a "family theme, putting each of the soap's iconic families front and centre" are seen on the series' set.
Hollyoaks is the only British soap to regularly make use of incidental music, The main theme was written and performed by Steve Wright, who has also produced music and themes for Brookside and Grange Hill.
A number of real acts have also performed during transmitted episodes of the series.
The Alphites were the first band to perform on the programme, when they played in the SU Bar.
In 2009, McFly featured in the show and played a song in the SU Bar.
Later that year Girls Can't Catch performed "Keep Your Head Up" during the college graduation party.
In July 2013, Hollyoaks also featured 'Off The Wall Oompah' Band Hosen Brass, playing a selection of their own cover versions for Darren's Bavarian Night(s) at the Dog In The Pond.
Hosen Brass featured on two consecutive episodes over the Friday and the Monday evening.
Hollyoaks was previously sponsored by Nescafé, which held a one-year £9.5 million deal from June 2002 until July 2003.
The show did not have a sponsor until June 2005, when Wrigley's signed a twelve-month contract for their brand of Extra chewing gum.
The contract ended in December 2009.
Nikon Coolpix signed a deal for sponsorship in 2010 which ended in September 2010, before resuming in January 2011, as part of a 12-month deal.
Nikon group marketing manager, Jeremy Gilbert described Hollyoaks viewers as "the perfect demographic" In September 2010, it was announced mobile phone retailer Phones4u would take over sponsorship from 1 October 2010 as part of a 3-month deal.
Caspar Nelson, the head of brand communications at Phones4u, said their research had shown that Hollyoaks was the most-watched TV show for their target audience.
Nikon Coolpix signed a new 12-month sponsorship deal in December 2010, beginning in January 2011.
On 11 April 2012, a six-month product placement deal with L'Oréal was revealed.
On 31 May 2012, a four-month product placement deal with Nokia was announced.
Unilever took over sponsorship of the show from 2 January 2013, with sponsorship switching between its Impulse body spray brand and its Alberto VO5 brand.
In January 2015, Domino's Pizza were announced as the new sponsors of Hollyoaks.
Five years later, it was announced that Batiste Dry Shampoo had begun sponsoring the programme.
In mid November 2020 clothing brand Jack Wills became the sponsor of the show.
|Start of sponsorship||End of sponsorship||Brand|
|2020||Batiste Dry Shampoo|
The Village is a specially built outdoor set at the studios.
The SU Bar was once used in Brookside as Bar Brookie, and the parade from Brookside is now the location of Esther's Magic Bean and the Dee Valley University Hospital.
Brookside Close was also used in Hollyoaks before it was sold; Ron Dixon's home was used as the Burtons' home and Max Farnham's home was used as the Deans' home.
The series initially aired on Mondays in 1995, with the exception of the second episode which aired on Friday 27 October 1995 and was repeated on Sunday evenings.
In July 1996, Mersey TV opted to recommission the show and increase its output to twice a week, that autumn beginning that October with a Thursday episode.
A third episode was introduced in September 1999, airing on Wednesdays and a fourth in 2001.
In November 2003, following the cancellation of Brookside, the show increased its output with a fifth episode, which has remained until March 2020.
Since the channel's launch in 2001, Channel 4's digital sister station E4 airs a daily "First Look" feature at 19:00 each weekday, in which viewers are able to watch the episode to be shown on Channel 4 the following day.
The 'first-look' is occasionally omitted, primarily if the following day's C4 episode is a special or event edition, and on these occasions may be replaced with a related programme or special.
Repeats of each day's edition of Hollyoaks air on E4 the following weekday; as of 2020, it is shown at 06:00.
All of the week's episodes of Hollyoaks are also compiled into an omnibus on Channel 4, and as of 2020, a signed and audio described version is transmitted at 02:25, and a regular version at 06:00.
Episodes of Hollyoaks, including the weekly omnibus, are also available for catch-up viewing online through the All 4 streaming platform.
In 2018, this service resumed and YouTube now airs the latest episodes on the Hollyoaks page.
On 22 March 2020, Channel 4 suspended production and filming of Hollyoaks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
From 30 March, new episodes being broadcast was reduced from five to three, airing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
However, on 6 April, this was reduced again from three to two, airing Monday and Tuesday, with the final pre-COVID episode screening on Monday 20 July.
The slots belonging to new episodes on E4 were filled by Hollyoaks Favourites.
After resumption of production, producers stated they expect to return to five weekly episodes in 2021.
In June 2020, episodes of Hollyoaks were made available on social media platform Snapchat.
In shortened segments featuring the highlights of an episode, they premiere on the app immediately after broadcast.
In Australia, from October 2010 to January 2012, the digital multichannel 7Two had broadcast double episodes of Hollyoaks from September 2009.
In the United States, beginning in March 2014, the streaming service Hulu began adding episodes of Hollyoaks; episodes are uploaded to the service two weeks after their initial airing in the UK.
See also: History of Hollyoaks
Over the course of the show's history, Hollyoaks has dealt with a number of storylines based upon serious issues.
Given the large and established proportion of young viewers, some feel that the soap is an ideal platform to show a variety of issues affecting young people.
A telephone helpline number is often displayed after episodes that feature a particular emphasis on a story that may have affected viewers.
Social issues that the soap has dealt with include: abortion, suicide, euthanasia, homelessness, human trafficking, illegal immigration, homosexuality, bisexuality, being transgender, gender identity disorder, homophobia, racism, far-right extremism, alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, sexual harassment, rape (including male rape and marital rape), incest, underage sex, child abuse (physical and sexual), child grooming, sexual consent, domestic violence (including parental abuse by children), anorexia, bulimia, body dysmorphic disorder, self-harming, county lines drug trafficking, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, Down syndrome, sepsis, bullying, child abduction, fostering, teenage pregnancy, sudden infant death syndrome, stillbirth, deafness, cancer, spina bifida, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, Munchausen syndrome, motor neurone disease, and frontotemporal dementia.
A 2007 episode which showed a number of the characters falling ill at a party due to carbon monoxide poisoning helped make a viewer realise that the symptoms of illness she had been feeling were caused by a potentially fatal carbon monoxide leak in her home.
By being made aware of the effects from the episode, she was able to receive medical treatment that would save her life.
Hollyoaks was the first British soap opera to have a "non-linear" week.
Commencing 14 September 2009, the special week saw storylines being played out in non-chronological order, something which has never been dealt with within the soap's history.
What's great about it is that it's a really great storyline, but with the way he pitched – in making it non-linear – it was even better.
It's just like if something happened to one of your mates and you try and put the pieces of the puzzle together as to what happened, you don't find all the people who tell you what happened in chronological order.
You get bits here and there and piece it together.
It's exactly the sort of thing Hollyoaks should be doing, challenging its audience."
In late 2009, it was announced that Hollyoaks would make another soap first by screening a flashforward episode.
On 21 December 2009, the show's time-line moved forward six months into May 2010.
Series producer Lucy Allan stated: "We're really excited by this future episode – Hollyoaks is the only soap that can tamper with time and give our audience the opportunity to look at events that haven't yet taken place.
A lot can happen in six months, so viewers should expect to be asking a lot of questions of some of their favourite characters' actions and behaviour."
Ricky Whittle, who plays Calvin, added: "Calvin's completely besotted with Carmel.
She's the one he's always wanted – she's always been his true love since they first started seeing each other and everyone's always wanted them to get back together."
Later in September, it was announced that Hollyoaks, teaming up with Channel 4 Education's Battlefront, would explore an underage sex storyline involving 12-year-old characters Finn O'Connor (Connor Wilkinson) and Amber Sharpe (Lydia Lloyd-Henry), which would lead to Amber's pregnancy.
Explaining the storyline, Paul Marquess said: "Hollyoaks has long been credited for tackling difficult issues that affect young people in a sensitive and intelligent way.
I am very proud that we are once again bringing to the forefront a subject for our young audience that many parents, politicians and schools struggle to address.
The storyline very clearly communicates to the audience that Amber and Finn were not emotionally or physically ready to engage in any sexual activity.
And make no mistake, there will be no fairytale ending for Amber; she is faced with the most difficult situation she could ever imagine."
In November 2012, Hollyoaks aired "Enjoy The Ride", in which four regular characters were killed: Rhys Ashworth (Andrew Moss), and three sixth form students, Maddie Morrison (Scarlett Bowman), Neil Cooper (Tosin Cole) and Jono (Dylan Llewellyn).
In October 2013, as part of the celebration of the soap turning 18, the show aired Hollyoaks — The Blast from 15 October until the end of the week.
The storyline saw a cast massacre with five main characters being killed off through the week, and two also were killed off in the annual Hollyoaks Later.
Series regular Callum Kane and newcomer Jade Hedy were killed off in Hollyoaks Later and regulars Ash Kane and Doug Carter were seen killed by the explosion while Clare Devine was run over by Paul Browning after Mercedes McQueen pushed her in front of his car.
Regular character Leanne Holiday (Jessica Forest) died in hospital the following week due to injuries sustained in the explosion, and Paul Browning was murdered by Mercedes, Cindy and Lindsey Butterfield (Sophe Austin) during the episodes.
Will kidnapped his family, including Dodger's father and twin sister Sienna and also Ash's mother, and Maxine, and tells them how he was jealous at Dodger, because of the way he regularly appears to get everything, all the things he wants more than him, before his and Dodger's showdown, which leads to the event that sees him getting arrested for the murder of Texas and his mother Anna and kidnapping.
In January 2014, Hollyoaks aried the second time for male rape since 2000 for where character John-Paul was raped by his student Finn O'Connor (Keith Rice), after enduring months of homophobic bullying from Finn and Robbie Roscoe (Charlie Wernham).
The storyline reached in climax in September when Finn is arrested for his rape & attempted rape of Nancy leading himself inprisonment after being found guilty.
In November 2014, the show aired Hollyoaks – End of The Line from 17 November until 21 November.
The story line saw newcomers Porshe McQueen (Twinnie Lee Moore) and Lockie Campbell (Nick Rhys) celebrate their wedding reception on a party train, and Sienna Blake (Anna Passey)'s car become stuck on the tracks after a car chase with her father Patrick Blake (Jeremy Sheffield), causing the train to smash into it and derail.
Long running character Carmel McQueen (Gemma Merna) was killed when the wreckage exploded after saving her cousin Theresa McQueen (Jorgie Porter) from "villainous" Sonny Valentine (Aaron Fontaine), who also died in the explosion, who wanted revenge on her for killing Calvin in 2010.
Long running character Mercedes McQueen (Jennifer Metcalfe) also "died" in November 2014, just a week after her sister Carmel, in a plot which saw her brutally murdered in the McQueen house by Grace Black.
Mercedes returned in February 2015.
Cleo moves into the house in late January 2015.
As part of the 20th anniversary in October 2015, a number of long-running storylines reached a climax point.
The underage sixth form student had begun questioning his sexuality following a kiss with John Paul McQueen, later developing strong feelings for Ste.
Another storyline featured was the reveal of the Gloved Hand Killer (the identity of whom had been a mystery to viewers since January).
The killer has murdered five characters up to that point (Rick Spencer, Mariam Andrews, Will Savage, Phoebe McQueen and Dylan Jenkins), has had two failed attempts (Esther Bloom and Diane O'Connor) and killed another two during the week (Ashley Davidson, Dr. S'avage) before Lindsey Butterfield is revealed as the serial killer when she seemingly murders another regular character (Freddie Roscoe).
However, he is later revealed to be alive.
In 2016, as part of the end to an explosive story, the show broadcast a "Point of View" week, focusing on the Police's suspects for who killed Patrick Blake who was found buried in the woods.
Each episode focused around the different characters in the same 24 Hours until, The police would make an arrest.
This also saw the return of former character Joel Dexter.
In Autumn 2016, the show's annual autumn stunt, titled "Hollyoaks No Exit", aired on 31 October to 4 November.
These episodes saw a "Halloween Spooktacular" held by Jude Cunningham, who returned to the series after 18 years of her last appearance.
In February 2018, Hollyoaks released a Cards of Fate episode, in which the fates of various characters in 3 months time was revealed through some cards.
It flashforwarded into Sienna Blake’s funeral.
In 2018, the show featured a self-harming storyline with the character Lily Drinkwell and her friends Peri Lomax and Yasmine Maalik, which won Best Storyline and Best Single Episode at The British Soap Awards in 2018.
Lily's self-harming continues and leads to her death of sepsis in 2019.
In 2001, students at University of Chester objected to a storyline which they say misrepresented students in the city.
Students Union president Gordon Reay said, "Students at other universities think we are a bunch of radicals and militants because that's how the students are portrayed in Hollyoaks.
They assume that the college in the programme is Chester College, because Hollyoaks is set in the city."
In 2007, the soap was further criticised along with other soap operas for the amount of alcohol consumption featured on-screen.
The Food Commission monitored that 18 percent of scenes feature consumption and warned that it was conditioning teenagers into thinking it is normal to consume so much alcohol.
A similar incident occurred in 1997 when the Independent Television Commission criticised the series for using an existing brand of alcohol, Caffrey's Irish Ale in the soap claiming that it breached broadcasting rules and promoted the product.
In October 2009, Channel 4 was criticised for broadcasting character Barry Newton's attempted suicide, which showed similarities to an incident which happened the same week in Glasgow in which two teenagers committed suicide by jumping into the River Clyde.
In its defence, a Channel 4 spokesperson stated, "Any similarities are entirely coincidental and we have carefully considered how best to proceed.
We feel it is appropriate to continue with the transmission of these episodes as this is not a one-off programme but an established and long-running series.
The audience will be familiar with the character of Newt and this plotline, which has been both trailed and promoted, has been developing over a number of weeks.
Hollyoaks has a strong track record of dealing with sensitive issues, and the transmission will be followed by a programme support announcement directing viewers to a 24-hour helpline."
In late November 2009, it was announced that character Loretta Jones would be revealed to have killed a child when she was twelve-years-old.
A Hollyoaks spokesperson said, "The drama is about how Loretta reacts to Chrissy's arrival back in her life and how she copes with all the memories coming back."
The storyline was criticised due to its similarities to real events, such as the Murder of James Bulger.
The mother of Bulger, Denise Fergus, stated her outrage of the storyline while speaking to Click Liverpool.
She said: "I'm shocked and disgusted at what Hollyoaks is doing.
They have "clearly" based this story on what happened to James and it's "outrageous" that they should do this without consulting with me in any way.
This is the third time this year that someone has written a so-called drama that treats my son's murderers as some kind of victims and celebrities.
It's "wrong" and I find it very "hurtful" that a TV company is making a horrific murder that happened 16 years ago into the subject for a soap opera.
How dare they treat James as though he is public property.
It is an "insult" to his memory and I am particularly shocked that a programme, based in Liverpool, has gone ahead and done this "knowing that it would be so controversial".
"Turning James's death into a topic for entertainment is just wrong"."
Appalled by the decision to produce the episodes, Fergus publicly called for a meeting with Hollyoaks' Liverpool-based production house Lime Pictures, so she could hear it justify its move.
She continued, "I'm demanding an urgent meeting with the producers of Hollyoaks over this.
It seems they have already recorded these episodes so they think they have got away with it.
But I want to look them in the eye and hear them explain how they can justify it.
I want to know how they could stoop so low as to broadcast such a horrible insult to the memory of my beautiful son.
The "only" reason Hollyoaks is doing this is their own self-interest – to get viewers.
I watch HO but if they go ahead and broadcast this it will be the last time I will watch it and I will ask other people to support me and boycott the show too."
A spokesperson for Channel 4 added, "The forthcoming storyline is not based on any real-life case and it will in no way seek to recreate real events.
The storyline focuses on the psychological repercussions for two characters in the show who were responsible for the death of a 12-year-old girl in the past."
Subsequently, the storyline was pulled from the show on 14 December 2009.
A Lime Pictures spokesperson said, "Hollyoaks has a very good track record of tackling difficult subject matter for a younger audience and the producers take seriously their duty to deal with sensitive issues in an appropriate way.
This particular storyline was NOT based on any real-life case and was not intended to recreate actual events.
However, after conversations with Denise Fergus we have agreed to amend certain aspects of the storyline."
Further information: List of Hollyoaks spin-offs
Hollyoaks occasionally broadcasts late-night spin-off editions of the main show, usually due to them containing adult themes and controversial plots.
Two video specials have also been released.
In 2001, a new 16 part spin-off series was produced entitled Hollyoaks: Movin' On, this was followed by two subsequent series, Hollyoaks: Let Loose and Hollyoaks: In the City, the latter appearing as its own show rather to a spin-off.
This first series, although being broadcast late at night, was more of a spin-off than a special.
A second series was commissioned the following year and aired in September.
A third series was announced in April 2010 before airing later that year.
A fifth series aired in September 2012, and a sixth in October 2013.
It is currently on hiatus following a decision not to go ahead with a seventh series in 2014, but has not been cancelled outright.
In October 2009, the "Hollyoaks Music Show" began with celebrity artists performing on the set of Hollyoaks, some of the acts that performed on the show included The Wanted, The Saturdays, Olly Murs, N-Dubz, Mini Viva, Pixie Lott, Jason Derulo, Chipmunk, Nicola Roberts, Tinchy Stryder, Girls Can't Catch, Paloma Faith, Taio Cruz and many others.
Some of the cast members were in the audience and the show was presented by Rick Edwards.
The show originally ended in December 2011, but has since not been renewed for another series.
Awards and nominations
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Hollyoaks
- Hollyoaks: Coming Together (1996)
- Hollyoaks: New Friends (1996)
- Hollyoaks: Friends and Families (1996)
- Hollyoaks: Can't Get the Girl (1997)
- Hollyoaks: Luke's Secret Diary (2000)
- Hollyoaks: Lives and Loves of Finn (2000)
- Hollyoaks: Luke's Journal: A New Beginning (2001)
- Hollyoaks: Stolen Emails (2002)
- Hollyoaks: Party! Party! Party! (2002)
- Hollyoaks: Seeing Red (2002)
- Hollyoaks: Running Wild (2002)
- Hollyoaks: The Official Companion (2002)
- Hollyoaks: Playing with Fire (2006)
- Hollyoaks: Truth or Dare (2006)
- Hollyoaks: Fame Game (2006)
- Hollyoaks: Guilt Trip (2006)
- Hollyoaks: Girl Talk (2010)
From 2001 to 2012, the cast of Hollyoaks produced two annual calendars.
One is entitled 'Hollyoaks Babes', which features the female cast, and the other 'Hollyoaks Hunks', which features the male cast.
For the calendar shoot, actors and actresses usually set off to exotic holiday destinations, however in September 2009 it was revealed the financial crisis of 2007–2008 caused the production team to have to make cuts, and therefore could no longer go abroad for the shoot.
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollyoaks.