Hollyoaks executive producer Brian Kirkwood is leaving the soap after eight years at the controls and said it had been a joy delivering the “plot buster stories that ‘can only happen on Hollyoaks’”.
Kirkwood originally ran Hollyoaks from 2006-2009, before taking the top job at EastEnders in 2012, which he held for two years until he returned to be executive producer at the Channel 4 soap once again.
He had overseen some remarkable stunts, including the Carmel McQueen train crash death in 2014, Nico Blake’s death in the “Halloween Spooktacular” in 2016, Joe Roscoe’s death falling from the Big Wheel at the funfair, as well as long-running storylines like the Gloved-Hand Killer and the Patrick Blake domestic abuse story.
Kirkwood said, in a statement: “For many years I have had the privilege of running a soap opera with a fiercely loyal audience.
“I passionately believe that soaps can help viewers start serious conversations about their lives. In recent years we have covered important topics within mental health, sexual consent, Far-Right radicalisation, male rape, sexual abuse and many issues other shows might look away from.
“It has also been a joy to deliver the plot buster stories that ‘can only happen on Hollyoaks’, stories that give our viewers an entertaining escape into a heightened world.
“I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, and I want to thank the entire team. Their talent, warmth, loyalty and friendship are why I stayed so long.”
Kirkwood added that the upcoming 25th anniversary felt like an “elegant time to hand the reins over to someone else but I’m confident that the beating heart of Hollyoaks – the people who make it – will keep the show around for another 25 years.”
Hollyoaks won Best Soap at the British Soap Awards in 2014 under his stewardship.
Hollyoaks has been dogged in recent months by allegations of back-room racism towards black cast members, an issue that led Rachel Adedeji (Lisa Loveday) to leave the soap after she called it out for its “disingenuous” response to the Black Lives Matter movement.
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