Hollyoaks: Scarlet Bowman says the Esther and Maddie bullying storyline has helped fans

by Anna Howell

Hollyoaks actress, Scarlett Bowman, has revealed that viewers have responded really well to her current bullying storyline, and have even been reaching out to her to share their own experiences.

Bowman, who plays Queen Bee Maddie Morrison in the award-winning Channel 4 soap, has been slyly bullying her sixth former ‘friend’ Esther Bloom (Jazmine Franks) for weeks, getting all the other sixth formers to make fun of her and pull pranks to humiliate her.

Viewers will have already have seen sixth form student Esther suffer bullying at the hands of her group of friends, in particular Maddie and Sinead (Stephanie Davis), and while to some it may seem like harmless ‘banter’ and ‘mickey taking’ to Esther the constant teasing builds to a much more serious issue leaving her feeling isolated and scared to go to college.

Maddie’s torment of Esther intensified last week when Esther was set up by the gang for a horrid prank. Believing that she was going to meet a new friend she found online, she was horrified when she got a call from the friend on route to meet her, saying that she had been followed.

When Esther turned up she found what she believed to be a dead body, before being grabbed from behind by an unknown assailant. In reality, the friend was made up, controlled by Maddie, the dead body was Ruby (Anna Schafer) and the grabber, Bart McQueen (Johnny Clarke), but poor Esther was so terrified, she ended up wetting herself, which of course Maddie captured on film and instantly posted online!

The subject was so well received that Hollyoaks even launched its own online anti bullying initiative to help tackle the issue which is set to take place on screen, when fellow student Dylan innocently decides to create a bespoke micro-blogging site, ‘DocYou’ to enter a filmmaking competition. The other sixth formers misuse it and it becomes a public forum to broadcast humiliating content about Esther leaving her unable to escape the torment. With her peers posting embarrassing videos and comments 24 / 7 the mistreatment becomes constant and unbearable. Her own bedroom is no longer free from bullying.

DocYou will explore the issues raised in the main TV drama, taking the lives of its sixth form characters online with the creation of Channel 4’s first fictional micro-blogging site within a TV show. Renowned for its ability to confront difficult youth issues, the award-winning Hollyoaks writing team have created a range of compelling and exclusive content, building on the in-show storylines and released in the form of videos, photos and text posts, highlighting major challenges faced by British teenagers including cyber bullying, relationships, privacy and the dangers and pitfalls of revealing too much online.

And Scarlett has said that she is proud to be part of a storyline which highlights an important issue, even if she has to play the villain.

Speaking to Whats On TV, she revealed: “I’ve received tweets from people watching it saying it’s bringing back memories of things that happened at school.

“I don’t think some people realise this stuff does go on. Hopefully not to the extent that we’ve been playing on screen, because it’s going to get a lot worse.

“It’s such a meaty, interesting and exciting role to play. But she is one nasty piece of work, I have to say.”

And, whilst Scarlett was lucky enough to have never been bullied herself, she said she could relate to the story as she had felt like an outsider in school:

“I did have one horrible experience, I think everyone does. I remember starting a new school half way through my education and I absolutely hated it for the first two years.

“I think girls are nasty – they can be really b****y. I don’t think guys have that b****y streak in them so much. Girls are more manipulative – it’s an evil world.”

The situation between Maddie and Esther is set to get even more intense during next week’s Enjoy The Ride minibus disaster when Esther witnesses Maddie kissing Jono the night before his wedding to Ruby. Maddie uses her power and manipulation to threaten Esther in order to keep quiet about the kiss, but when Esther decides she can’t let her friend make the biggest mistake of her life, things go horribly wrong!

Fans of the award-winning soap will know how next week a mini bus carrying the sixth formers ploughs into the double wedding ceremony of Doug Carter (PJ Brennan), Ste Hay (Keiron Richardson), Cindy Longford (Stephanie Waring) and Tony Hutchinson (Nick Pickard), resulting in so far two confirmed deaths, but with a final death toll expected to be the biggest the soap has ever seen in one sitting!

The mini bus, originally being loaded up Brendan (Emmett J Scanlan) with the wedding cakes, is hijacked by Maddie Morrison in order to drive Ruby and her fiancée, Jono (Dylan Llewellyn) to Gretna Green to get married. When they realise that the cakes are in the bus, they decided to do the right thing and drive them to the wedding marquee, but when Bart and Esther) try and force the bus off the road to try and stop the teenagers eloping, disaster strikes.

Unwilling to pull over, Maddie continues driving at speed with Bart right next to her, but when little Leah Hay walks into the road, both vehicles are forced to swerve to avoid hitting her. Unfortunately, the mini bus brakes fail and the vehicle, including most of the sixth formers, ploughs strait into the wedding receptions, leaving the entire party buried in rubble when the bus explodes inside.

Watch the full Enjoy the promo in the clip below:

Hollyoaks Enjoy The Ride starts Monday at 6.30pm on Channel 4/ Channel 4 HD; you won’t want to miss it!