Hollyoaks' radicalisation storyline reached a dramatic peak when a bomb accidentally exploded in the village causing chaos and destruction for Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) and the Maalik family and leaving Yazz Maalik (Haiesha Mistry) and Jonny Baxter (Ray Quinn) fighting for their lives.
The hard-hitting plot reached new heights as the sinister far right group that has been grooming vulnerable Ste prepared to attack an empty local community centre, known to be used by Muslim families in the area, with an explosive device.
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Extremist leader Stuart Sumner (Chris Simmons) then declared the plan had to be abandoned following a tip-off they were being monitored by counter-terrorist police.
Fellow activist Jonny was riled by the last-minute change and went rogue, going against his boss and declaring they should target night club the Loft instead – where Sinead Shelby (Stephanie Davis), the mother of Ste's daughter Hannah, was celebrating her engagement to Sami Maalik (Rishi Nair).
Ste has been brainwashed against the Maaliks, who have borne the brunt of the group's racist threats and intimidation for the last six months, but putting his daughter and neighbours in real danger was a step too far for the confused character who finally began to question the ideology behind the gang who have groomed him into anti-Muslim rhetoric and racially-motivated violence.
Begging Jonny to stop as he seized the device from the house and stormed through the back garden towards the Loft, Ste was horrified when the package accidentally fell onto the ground causing it go off and blast through the house, as well as into the Maaliks' neighbouring garden knocking Yazz unconscious.
From outside the Loft, Sami and stepmum Misbah heard the bang and looked over in horror at black smoke rising into the sky…
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The set piece is a game-changing turning point in the much-discussed radicalisation story that has been running since December 2018, when extremists took advantage of angry Ste's vendetta against Muslim doctor Misbah who he blamed for the accidental death of his sister Tegan.
Slowly but surely Ste was reeled in and eventually inducted into the group, who subtly isolated him from his friends and family. But the realisation of actual lives being at risk has finally made Ste open his eyes, as Richardson explains:
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"In the build-up, Ste loosely knows that something big is happening and there has been lots of talk about action and doing something massive. However, the moment that Ste realises that lives are in jeopardy here and every life is important, Ste has to put a stop to it, especially because his friends and family are in the firing line for this one."
Show boss Bryan Kirkwood told RadioTimes.com in July that the events of this week, which are dominated by the storyline, will see "the scales fall from Ste's eyes as he realises he’s in the company of monsters. It’s a week that changes the lives of the Maaliks and Ste forever, and alters the course of the story."
Will Jonny or Yazz survive? And can Ste be redeemed?
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