Alfie Nightingale’s mental health storyline is the focus of a special Hollyoaks episode showing next week which sees the troubled teenager’s condition take hold, pushing him to barricade himself and his family in the Cunningham house before he is finally diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder.
Tormented by a voice in his head that has become increasingly sinister and manipulative, Alfie’s behaviour has grown manic and paranoid and even led him to believe his late girlfriend Jade Albright was coming back from the dead.
Next week, Tom Cunningham and Yazz Maalik grow concerned for their friend when they notice him talking to himself and acting strangely. After an erratic display at Harley Frater’s birthday party, Alfie is encouraged by Tom to see a doctor and he calls Marnie Nightingale for help, unaware Alf’s voice has convinced him Tom is not be trusted and he has to protect mum Cindy Cunningham and siblings Holly and Hilton.
Barricading himself in the Cunninghams’ to keep them all safe, Alfie is surrounded by papers scrawled with calculations as the troubled brainbox starts carrying out experiments and ranting about the danger they’re all in.
Cindy comes to the realisation her son is hearing voices and is in desperate need of help, as the Nightingales and Tom try in vain to persuade him to let them in. Lost in his own mind, Alfie feels everyone in his life has turned against him and he flees from the house, heading for the archway in the village – where events take a dramatic turn…
Hollyoaks has worked with mental health charity Mind in researching the storyline, and has also consulted with mental health campaigner and filmmaker Jonny Benjamin, who made the Channel 4 documentary Stranger on the Bridge, and who also had Alfie’s diagnosis.
Alfie’s condition began earlier this year when he began to experience feelings of anxiety and paranoia.
The episode airs on Wednesday 6 June on E4 at 7pm, and on Channel 4 on Thursday 7 June at 6.30pm.
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