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Hollyoaks cut to three episodes a week

Hollyoaks cut to three episodes a week
© Lime Pictures
Channel 4 confirms that Hollyoaks will be reduced from five to three episodes a week starting this autumn.

Hollyoaks will air three times a week instead of five from this autumn, Channel 4 has announced.

The news comes just six months after the soap - 30 years old in 2025 - lost its linear broadcast slot on the flagship channel, instead moving to a streaming-first strategy with linear playout on E4.

The move is likely to result in around 150 job losses at production firm Lime Pictures, with C4 claiming that the new direction will "mean greater focus on the characters and gripping storylines that we know audiences love most".

In conjunction with the announcement, the soap has also appointed interim showrunner Hannah Cheers to the permanent post of executive producer.

"Hollyoaks offers a unique proposition: bold, escapist, relatable, youth-skewing and multi-generational stories, told in its innovative and technicolour signature style," Cheers said in a statement.

"The show continues to bring people together by making them feel something, and everything. Approaching its 30th anniversary in 2025, Hollyoaks matters just as much now as it did at its trailblazing launch.
 
"There may be speculation about the future of Continuing Drama, but as someone who was brought up on the nation's soaps - and remains a true fan - I believe their value must not be underestimated. 
 
"Soap audiences grow up alongside their favourite characters over a period of many years; the investment in their stories is huge. The genre's ability to initiate important conversations is unparalleled, especially when it all comes served up with joy, humour and jaw-dropping twists. I want future generations to experience that."

Ian Katz, chief content officer at Channel 4, said: "Hollyoaks is on sparkling creative form at the moment and these changes will ensure it remains compulsive viewing for a new generation of fans as viewing habits change. The show has always been at the forefront of innovation in all of its forms, including increasing and decreasing episode numbers in response to viewing habits.

"These changes are a decisive step forward, designed to reflect how audiences are watching. A tighter schedule promises a new era of more scale and impact. We are of course mindful of the impacts on the production team and will work closely with Lime Pictures to minimise these where possible.
 
"We are also delighted that the brilliant Hannah Cheers will be leading Hollyoaks into its fourth decade. Hannah is passionate, rigorous and has an outstanding track record of finding and developing talent. 
 
"Hollyoaks has played a crucial role in nurturing talent for nearly thirty years, and we are excited to continue to develop new opportunities and nurture the stars of tomorrow. I would like to thank all the Hollyoaks cast and crew who have been involved in the programme since its inception." 

Since the show went digital-first last September, C4 has reported a 33% increase in streaming views year on year.

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