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 does Hollyoaks go off air and what happens in the last episode?
The last episode completed before lockdown airs on E4 at 7pm on Monday 20th July, with the Channel 4 showing on Tuesday 21st July at 6.30pm.
With Scott Drinkwell and Mitchell Deveraux’s wedding days away, the pair’s happy ending is jeopardised by family tensions that threaten to derail the event. Will they tie the knot?
Elsewhere, Brody Hudson plans to visit abuser Buster Smith in prison hoping to get closure on his childhood trauma, after Warren Fox and Felix Westwood confront their own angst-ridden adolescence.
And Sienna Blake looks forward to the birth of her surrogate child as little sister Liberty Savage prepares to give birth, while both siblings are hiding emotional secrets from each other that could ruin the baby arrangement.
Those are just some of the storylines fans will have to wait a while to be resolved.
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 welfare of cast and crew.
What will replace Hollyoaks in the schedules during the break?
Since the main show reduced from five to twice a week in March, Hollyoaks Favourites has filled the gap on E4 between Wednesdays and Fridays, showing classic episodes from the archive with new intros filmed by the cast.
Favourites airs an extra fourth edition on Tuesday 21st July, flashing back to Hannah Ashworth’s eating disorder storyline from 2007, after the final new episode airs.
After that the Favourites strand will be rested and a new retro show, Hollyoaks@25, will celebrate 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?
The soap returns in September, with a definite date yet to be confirmed. After the schedule was cut from five to two episodes a week at the start of lockdown, to keep the programme on air as long as possible, Hollyoaks plans to return with an increase to four nights a week in the autumn, with an expected return to the full five-nights pattern by January 2021.
With Hollyoaks@25 said to broadcast over five weeks from late July, expect the main show to return earlier rather than later in September.
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?
Visit our dedicated Hollyoaks page for all the latest news, interviews and spoilers. If you’re looking for more to watch check out our TV guide.