Hollyoaks is taking a temporary transmission break after it broadcasts the last episodes completed before the UK lockdown halted production back in March.
One by one, continuing dramas have got back in business with phased returns to filming under strict new safety measures. Coronation Street and Emmerdale managed to avoid going off-air having resumed production before their stock of episodes ran dry, but Hollyoaks, like the BBC’s EastEnders, recommenced slightly later than their ITV counterparts.
Here is your full guide to what the future holds for Hollyoaks over the summer, how the break will work and what to expect when we return to the vibrant Chester village later this year.
When did Hollyoaks go off air and what happened in the last episode?
The last episode completed before lockdown aired on Channel 4 on Tuesday 21st July.
With Scott Drinkwell and Mitchell Deveraux’s wedding days away, the pair’s happy ending was jeopardised by family tensions that threatened to derail the event. Will they tie the knot?
Elsewhere, Brody Hudson planned to visit abuser Buster Smith in prison hoping to get closure on his childhood trauma, after Warren Fox and Felix Westwood confronted their own angst-ridden adolescence.
And Sienna Blake looked forward to the birth of her surrogate child as little sister Liberty Savage prepared to give birth, while both siblings were hiding emotional secrets from each other that could ruin the baby arrangement.
Those are just some of the storylines fans have been waiting for a resolution on over the break.
When did Hollyoaks resume filming?
Cameras started rolling again on Monday 13th July, four months after the UK lockdown halted production. Hollyoaks were the last of the main four soaps to stop filming, but are the last to return, following Emmerdale in late May, Coronation Street in early June, and EastEnders at the end of June.
One of the reasons Hollyoaks endured a longer production break is because it is shot using a single-camera method, making it more time consuming to make than multi-camera counterparts Corrie, EastEnders and Emmerdale.
As with all TV drama going back to work in the post-pandemic age, strict new social distancing and safety measures are in place at the Hollyoaks set in Liverpool, which has been declared Covid-safe within government guidelines to ensure the welfare of cast and crew.
What replaced Hollyoaks in the schedules during the break?
Since the main show reduced from five to twice a week in March, Hollyoaks Favourites filled the gap on E4 between Wednesdays and Fridays, showing classic episodes from the archive with new intros filmed by the cast.
After the Favourites strand was rested, a new retro show, Hollyoaks@25, aired, celebrating the upcoming milestone – it turns 25 in October – by airing five of the show’s most explosive weeks ever from different eras, spanning the early 1990s days to more recent times.
When will Hollyoaks return to our screens?
Monday, September 7th is going to be a good day for soap fans as both Hollyoaks and Eastenders return to the screen following their lengthy breaks. And not only that, but a week or so later will see Coronation Street and Emmerdale go back to their regular 6 episode a week schedule.
What will the big storylines be when it comes back?
A trailer teasing what we can expect when Hollyoaks comes back was released as the last episode aired before the break – see the 12 spoilers teased for the return here. Scott Drinkwell and Mitchell Deveraux’s wedding is around the corner, so expect fireworks as family tensions erupt that threaten the big day.
Lisa Loveday’s exit also hits screens in September, following Rachel Adedeji’s announcement she had quit. With the character just having started a new romance with bad boy Felix Dexter, how will she leave the village?
Brody Hudson’s abuse story is set to be revisited as he plans to confront evil Buster Smith in prison, but he has no idea girlfriend Sienna Blake recently shared a clandestine kiss with old flame Warren Fox. And surely Liberty Savage will be ready to give birth to Sienna and Brody’s surrogate baby by the autumn – unless she gives birth off-screen over the summer?
Hollyoaks’ 25th anniversary in October will be weeks away as the soap returns. Tony Hutchinson’s clash with dastardly dad Edward Hutchinson is set to be at the centre of the milestone episodes, as the deranged doctor’s plan to push his son out of the family cranks up a notch.
And the county lines drug dealing storyline will have just a few months to go before we hit the ambitious flash-forward payoff in December (remind yourselves of our 10 big talking points from the flash forward)- who is getting married? Who is in that body bag? And how much disruption has lockdown caused the audacious concept?