Hollyoaks’ controversial radicalisation storyline was singled out by judges at this week’s Broadcast Awards where the show was named Best Soap or Continuing Drama, continuing a run of industry awards glory for the programme.
Judges decreed the hard-hitting plot of Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson) being groomed and radicalised by sinister far right extremists marked Hollyoaks out as “The soap most willing to take on challenging issues and do them justice.”
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The voting panel also lauded the show for “tackling the trickiest of topics, including a flagship episode on far-right extremism. As it moves into its quarter century on air (the soap celebrates its 25th anniversary in October 2020), the show can safely say it has become a master at capturing these key themes for the masses.
“It succeeded in communicating the dangerous impact that racism can have on people’s lives. It was a brave and current story.”
Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood said at the prize-giving bash, held in London on Wednesday 5th February: “We are delighted to be recognised by the judges, particularly in a year which saw Hollyoaks be the first continuing drama to tell a story about far right radicalisation.
“It was a team effort that required the collaboration of every department, was meticulously researched, sensitively portrayed by the actors and delivered with outstanding production values.”
Hollyoaks beat Coronation Street, Emmerdale, EastEnders, Casualty and Holby City. It follows success in the last 12 months for the C4 soap at the Royal Television Society, British Soap, Inside Soap ceremonies where it was named Best Soap.
Disenfranchised Ste was targeted by Stuart Sumner and Jonny Baxter who manipulated his anger towards Muslim doctor Misbah Maalik, who he blamed for the death of his sister Tegan Lomax in a tragic accident, and twisted it into racial hatred, isolating Ste from his family and friends and recruiting him into the group.
The storyline climaxed with a bomb exploding in the village and Ste realising he had been groomed, and followed his path to extraction as he sought the help of Prevent, the organisation who work with the government to de-radicalise those who have been drawn into extremism.
With the community divided on whether they could forgive Ste, and with Ste needing time to forgive himself and decompress from his brainwashing ordeal, the character temporarily left the village to get back on his feet while Richardson took a break to star in the touring theatre production of TV drama Band of Gold. He is expected to return later this year.
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