Monday 8th June’s E4 episode followed Kyle as he gave fiancée Nancy Osborne and his stepkids a perfect family day together after recently feeling he had continuously let them down, masking his serious mental health issues and ensuring they remained oblivious to his struggle.
After a romantic evening meal for two in the Hutch, Nancy had to dash home after a frantic text from babysitter Jack, leaving Kyle to clean up – as they said goodbye, a loved-up Nancy had no idea it would be the last time she’d see him.
Viewers saw Kyle’s mask slip when left alone, and at the end of the episode Darren Osborne noticed a light was on in his workplace and went in to investigate – and emerged ashen-faced, tearfully calling the police to tell them Kyle was dead.
Hollyoaks had previously confirmed they would be tackling the topic of male suicide, which is the biggest killer in men under 50. The soap has worked alongside charities including Mind and the Samaritans as part of their research.
The emotional plot has slowly developed over recent months, with Darren and Kyle supporting each other through their different experiences with depression. While Darren has started to open up, Kyle kept his condition hidden and spiralled into despair.
Discussing the aftermath of Kyle’s death for her character Nancy, Jessica Fox exclusively told RadioTimes.com she applauds Hollyoaks for addressing male suicide and depression, which she admitted she has first-hand knowledge of.
“Unfortunately I have personal experience of the subject through things my partner has been through,” she candidly reveals. “In that respect it made the job harder and sometimes very difficult to process and separate work and home.
“We talked about whether I would be public about this part of our lives when discussing the storyline, and he came to the conclusion that if helps explain how important the subject is, and highlights that we should be having these conversations than it was worth doing. I thought that was very brave of him.
“It was quite a scary place to go for me portraying it, but Hollyoaks were fantastic and aware it was a sensitive subject that touches a lot of people. We had lots of meetings and spoke to charities, they made sure every care was taken so we all felt supported.
“I hope this storyline makes people see that depression doesn’t affect just one person, it has ramifications we can’t really understand, and you never truly know what is going through someone else’s head. In the current life we are living, the message ‘be kind’ has never been more important.”
The aftermath of Kyle’s death will be explored in upcoming episodes, and Fox acknowledges the impact on her alter ego will be huge.
“This has to become part of her narrative moving forward. It will be something we revisit and ensure the conversation keeps going.”