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Hollyoaks 'to axe 20 characters in one-year time jump'

Hollyoaks 'to axe 20 characters in one-year time jump'
© Channel 4
Hollyoaks producers reportedly decide to axe 20 characters in a huge new storyline.

Hollyoaks producers have reportedly decided to axe 20 characters as part of a major new time-jump storyline airing this autumn.

Earlier this month it was confirmed that the long-running Channel 4 soap will go down from five episodes a week to just three starting from September, meaning significant cuts to the size of cast and crew.

New exec producer Hannah Cheers is overseeing the major change and has now revealed that the soap will jump forward by one year on screen in order to allow for a lot of characters to be written out in one fell swoop.

"When we started talking about the move to three episodes a week, we realised we needed a mechanism through which to transition our stories and characters and we kept coming back to this one," she said. "It's bold, daring and is a first for a UK soap - it sums Hollyoaks up perfectly.

"The new three-episode pattern offers us a different model of storytelling, which means we'll see characters on screen for much longer. Our viewers are really smart, so in order to serve them well we need to kick off this new structure in a meaningful way.

"Fast-forwarding the show permanently by a year presents us with unlimited story possibilities. We are now a streaming-first soap and can lean into less-restricting and conventional structures.

"Very sadly, we are going to have to say goodbye to some much-loved Hollyoaks villagers, and some earlier than we would have expected to. Every single one of our cast members is immensely talented and hard-working. Reducing the team in size is a tough consequence of this transition.

"It's not kind to our characters or our audience to have a drawn-out stream of goodbyes on screen and a heightened stunt didn't feel like the right approach. We also want the flexibility to see favourite characters again and we got really excited about how this would work.

"We believe this creative approach will celebrate the uniqueness of Hollyoaks and will serve and honour our amazing characters, throwing us forward into exciting new territory as we pave the way to our 30th anniversary in 2025."

According to The Sun, as many as 20 cast members will be leaving the show when the action jumps forward.

A source told the newspaper: "In the past, Hollyoaks has seen shock stunts claim up to five lives in a single episode.

"But the days of soaps having a big cast clear-out with a devastating stunt are long gone, especially on Hollyoaks where the budget has been dramatically cut. The necessary death toll would make almost any stunt idea totally unbelievable."

Hollyoaks continues weekdays on Channel 4 streaming.

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Darren and Tony on Hollyoaks on December 29, 2023
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