This year is Hollyoaks coming of age as the award-winning soap reaches its landmark 18th birthday, and according to executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, there is going to be some pretty spectacular plots and stunts to mark the occasion.
In the last 18 years Hollyoaks has tackled some of the most controversial and hard-hitting storylines, in some of the most unique and effective ways, the most recent being the epic Enjoy The Ride wedding day bus crash which saw three main characters killed off.
The scene which saw Maddie Morrison (Scarlet Bowman) drive a minibus containing the sixth formers through the double wedding ceremony between Cindy Cunningham (Stephanie Wearing) and Tony Hutchinson (Nick Pickard), Doug Carter (PJ Brennan) and Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) picked up the award for Stunt Of The Year at this year’s British Soap Awards, and according to Kirkwood, there are plenty more where that came from:
“As part of our spectacular summer storylines, we have a big stunt which we’re actually filming right now. We also have something planned for transmission in the autumn, so there’s at least two on the way…”
On the subject of the 18th birthday celebrations he told Digital Spy:
“I’m so emotionally invested in this show, so I am extremely proud we have reached this milestone. Hollyoaks Later will transmit in October and the series will see the return of Kurt, Finn and Dom. It will be a celebration of Hollyoaks past and present.
“Alongside that, a lot of the stories we’re playing right now will come to an explosive climax. There’ll also be life-changing events for Tony to play out around the anniversary.”
With regards to this year’s Hollyoaks Later he revealed:
“The very talented producer Jane Steventon is back working on the new series after last year’s success. Jane did a brilliant job in rebooting Hollyoaks Later, making it feel darker and more credible. We’re filming the five episodes at the moment and you can expect to see Tony in his own rites of passage story as he looks into his uncertain future.
“Playing alongside that will be a huge storyline involving our current teenagers. Tilly, Esther, Callum and Holly will be in a rip-roaring plot as they all find danger in a cabin in the woods.”
Finally, Bryan summarised what other storylines we have to look forward to:
“It’s going to be a huge summer at Hollyoaks, with all of our old favourites in the thick of the action. We’ll have Ste facing one of the biggest challenges of his life as his mum, who has been diagnosed with cancer, asks him to help her die.
“We’ve also got Darren and Nancy in a great, juicy storyline with Sienna as the cuckoo in their nest. I’m keen for that storyline not to be seen as just a love triangle. Sienna wants far more than just Darren – she wants all the colour and the chaos of the Osborne family. As Nancy has been foolish enough to invite Sienna back into her home, this story is going to explode all over the summer.
“Elsewhere, we’re going to see the McQueens in peril from Doctor Browning as he focuses in on Myra as the threat to his relationship with Mercedes. That really kicks off with the current stalker mystery, which is going to lead into massive consequences for every single member of the family.
“We’re also going to see much more of Tony’s cancer storyline, which is playing out beautifully. I’m so proud of Nick Pickard and his work so far. That story will help create a new super-family with the Hutchinsons and the O’Connors coming together at last – and watch out for when Tony finally does tell Diane his heart-breaking news…”
“Ste is undoubtedly one of our most important characters and I’m so impressed with everything Kieron has done in the role. He’s become a real star in the past few years. I was conscious of the fact that Ste was languishing on his own with no family around him, so that’s something we’re going to change by bringing in Ste’s sisters. Ste’s story with Pauline is just the start of a massive journey for the character.
“The Roscoes have got off to a great start as a big, male force at the heart of the show, so I’m eager to bring in an equally-strong female force to become the engine of Hollyoaks for the next few years. We’re just casting the characters now and I’m really looking forward to seeing Ste playing alongside these girls.
“George, Phoebe and Vincent’s beautiful love story will be a big plot over the summer. It’s quite unique, as it’s a love triangle where nobody’s doing anything wrong! It’s also an important issue story and a soap first, as it’s about the story of a Nigerian asylum seeker who’s fleeing persecution for being gay. We are working closely with Stonewall, to ensure a rarely told story gets the audience it deserves. There’s tons more to explore with that plot.
“We’ll see Tilly and Esther’s relationship go in a very unexpected direction in Hollyoaks Later, while Ruby is about to lose her head with an older man.
“Sinead is going to have the year from hell, as karma for all of her wicked acts in the past year! However, coming out of that will be a surprising love story with a knight in shining armour.”
Hollyoaks can be seen weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4 / Channel 4 HD