Hollyoaks has launched a unique podcast capitalising on the soap’s success at raising awareness of important issues. Called ‘Don’t Filter Feelings’, the 10-part series is inspired by the C4 show’s initiative of the same name that has explored topics such as self-harm, mental health and diversity.
Storylines such as Lily McQueen’s addiction to self-harming that led to her tragic death, Alfie Nightingale’s battle with schizoaffective disorder and Scott Drinkwell’s depression have won critical acclaim and industry recognition – including awards from mental health charity MIND for Scott’s struggle.
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Producers and cast even went to Parliament in 2017 to discuss with MPs how the representation of mental health in the media can challenge stigmas.
Cast members including Kieron Richardson (Ste Hay) and Amy Conachan (Courtney Campbell) will be taking part in the podcast, ruminating on a different subject each week and sharing their personal stories with host, journalist and CBBC presenter Lauren Layfield.
RadioTimes.com can bring you an exclusive peak with a montage of the series which you can watch below:
The first edition is entitled ‘What Is Different?’, with Richardson and Conachan opening up about how Hollyoaks celebrates diversity and their real-life experiences of the challenges to achieve equality, re-evaluating society’s term ‘normal’.
Wheelchair user Conachan reveals: “Growing up I didn’t feel all that different. I also have a twin sister so i Just think I did everything she did and our parents don’t treat us differently.”
Richardson candidly discusses issues of sexuality, and living and portraying the life of a gay man in modern Britain. “There is no norm, there is no average. Difference doesn’t have to be negative, or what you see as your negative, someone else will see that’s what makes you amazing.
“If you want to own the word ‘different’, I would say make it about the best attributes about yourself.”
Future instalments will feature cast members and specially-invited guests and cover a range of other issues viewers have seen through the eyes of the soap’s characters, including the rise of far right extremism and how vulnerable young people are being groomed into the ideology, and living with autism, in which Talia Vanessa Grant discusses the realities of her condition, which her alter ego Brooke Hathaway also has.
RadioTimes.com can also exclusively reveal a subsequent edition will focus on surrogacy, in which Richardson and husband Carl Hyland tell Layfield about their journey of having twins Phoebe and Chase, born in May 2017 to a surrogate, along with Sarah Jones, chair of Surrogacy UK.
Luke Jerdy (Jesse Donovan) and reality star Jake Quickenden, soon to join the cast as Woody, talk relationships in another upcoming instalment exploring questions couples have to answer without their partners.
You can hear the first episode here, and see the podcast video on Hollyoaks’ official YouTube channel from Thursday 5th September.
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