Hollyoaks star Kieron Richardson has addressed the controversial nature of the far right storyline in which his character Ste Hay was radicalised by extremists, as the plot reaches a dramatic climax in a special hour-long episode.
“This has been a scary yet rewarding storyline to be part of,” shares the actor. “At times it has been an uncomfortable watch but imagine what it feels like for people who live on the receiving end of the hate.
“Unfortunately, far right extremism exists, but there is help available to those who want it.”
Vulnerable Ste has been groomed and indoctrinated over a year-long period by far right group members Jonny Baxter (Ray Quinn) and Stuart Sumner (Chris Simmons), who used psychological manipulation to isolate him from his family and immerse him in their anti-Islamist ideology.
The group’s planned attack on the village in September, targeting local Muslim family the Maaliks, resulted in an explosion that finally made Ste see sense about Stuart and Jonny’s true hateful agenda, but his attempts since then to leave the organisation have seen his captors trap him under threat of violence.
Does Ste Hay die?
Friday 15th November’s hour-long edition on E4 focuses on Ste’s efforts to escape with the help of family and the government’s counter-terrorism group Prevent. Realising Ste’s plan, Stuart and Jonny kidnap him and drive him to a cliff to teach him a lesson – will anyone come to Ste’s rescue in time?
Richardson will taking a temporary break from his role as this chapter of the story concludes, but despite the peril Ste is in he is expected to be back on screen early in 2020.
Hollyoaks has worked closely with Prevent and ExitUK, which assists the Home Office in extricating people who have become involved in far right extremism. The hot button topic has been tackled in order to raise awareness of the rise of far right in parts of the country, and to examine how groups target vulnerable members of society such as Ste.
The award-winning soap has also released a new online documentary exploring real-life experiences of de-radiclisation and the support available.
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