Hollyoaks‘ radicalisation storyline cranked up a notch on Wednesday 14th August (E4 showing) when Yazz Maalik (Haeisha Mistry) and Sinead Shelby (Stephanie Davis) discovered evidence that Stuart Sumner (Chris Simmons) and Jonny Baxter (Ray Quinn) are planning a possible terror attack as part of their far right agenda.
The bolshy girls broke into the Maaliks’ neighbours’ house occupied by the anti-Muslim faction who are radicalising Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson), and found a hidden USB stick containing floor plans of a local community centre. Fearing they could be planning a public display of their racist intentions, they went straight to the police only to be told it’s inadmissible and can’t be used as they burgled the property.
Now the Maaliks are fearful of what Stuart and co have up their sleeve, as soap’s most terrifying storyline strays into even darker territory and hurtles towards a game-changing plot peak next month.
RadioTimes.com spoke to Mistry about the sinister weeks ahead…
Is Yazz frightened when she and Sinead break in and look for something incriminating on Stuart?
According to Yazz she’s a pro now! This is the second time she’s broken in, after her and Peri tried to prove Jonny was lying about being Ste’s brother, so she reckons she knows it all. But the bravado fades when they get in and she realises they’ve gone too far. Yazz has no filter but her cockiness hides a vulnerability, and you can eventually tell she’s scared.
What does she think when they view what’s on the USB?
It’s got these floor plans on it, and Sinead works out they’re for Dee Valley East Community Centre and Yazz’s mind starts racing – she’s been to a family wedding there. Suddenly she feels on edge and creeped out by being in the house. Its a chilling moment.
Do they think Stuart and Jonny are planning an attack?
Yes. Yazz knows what the group are like but she never thought it would go this far. This community centre is a public place, the Maaliks always feared they may be targeted living next door, but this is on a wider scale. The fact Yazz has been to this place for a family event means it’s used by the local Muslim community, and it hits home this is more serous than she thought.
How do they feel when the police say they can’t use the evidence?
Frustrated – they’re back to square one. The Maaliks feel even more isolated in their own home, they’ve had so much abuse already and it was only a few days since the pepper spray attack on Sami, but they are not going to stop being who they are and living their lives – however, there is a sense they need to be careful as they have an inkling the group are up to something.
We know there is a big development in the storyline in September, what can you tease about that? Something major happens involving the Maalik family and the far right that will especially impact on Yazz. It changes her viewpoint…
Do you think introducing the threat of an attack is going too far in the storyline?
It needs to get darker because that is the reality – people get groomed and don’t realise it until it’s too late and they can’t find a way out. Because of Hollyoaks’ time slot this story has to be told in a certain way, but in real life it’s a lot darker. It’s important we depict what is happening so people relate to it and we educate the audience. I’m proud Hollyoaks are doing this and that I’m a part of it, this storyline is starting an essential conversation with the audience.
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