Hollyoaks has confirmed it will return on Monday 7th September with the first new episode since July showing on Channel 4 at 6.30pm, followed by the next instalment in the regular E4 ‘first look’ slot at 7pm. The show initially airs four nights a week, Monday – Thursday, but plans to return to the full five in January 2021.
Like BBC counterpart EastEnders, which is back on the same day, the soap was forced off air over the summer as a result of the UK lockdown earlier this year that halted production.
However, Hollyoaks kept back a number of scenes filmed pre-shutdown which will be used to kick off the return in grand style, with the long-awaited wedding of Scott Drinkwell (Ross Adams) and Mitchell Deveraux (Imran Adams) heralding the big relaunch.
In the last cliffhanger before the break, the boys’ fairy-tale big day was in jeopardy as Mitchell’s granddad Walter Deveraux vowed to stop the ceremony, while Scott had no idea his confused fiance had lied to his bigoted relative the wedding was even taking place. So do the couple even make it up the aisle?
Fans got a first glimpse at the lavish wedding in July’s trailer shown after the last completed episode aired (check out our 12 spoilers for the return here), and there was a definite sense of danger as Mitchell’s vengeful siblings Celeste Faroe and Toby Faroe plotted to wreck the nuptials.
Ahead of the return, E4 will reshow the last five episodes every night from Monday 31st August at 7pm as a refresher to bring the audience back up to speed. They were originally shown across three weeks in July, during the reduced schedule pattern of two new episodes a week.
Hollyoaks was the last of the UK’s big four continuing drama to resume filming, and went back to work at their Liverpool studios on Monday 13th July. New government guidelines and protocols for the TV and film industry means scenes may take longer to complete as cast and crew adapt to the new normal, hence the four-episodes pattern put in place for the autumn.
C4’s flagship drama is shot using a single-camera method, making it more time consuming than fellow soaps Coronation Street, Emmerdale and EastEnders which use multiple cameras that speed up parts of the filming process. This is another reason why Hollyoaks endured a slightly longer production break.
Among the storylines in store from September, aside from the Stitchell wedding drama, are the imminent exit of Rachel Adedeji’s character Lisa Loveday, the return of Brody Hudson’s abuser Buster Smith, Juliet Nightingale’s continuing spiral into county lines drug dealing and John Paul McQueen being tempted to cheat on new man George Kiss with old flame James Nightingale.
October 2020 marks Hollyoaks’ 25th anniversary, which focuses on original character Tony Hutchinson’s epic power struggle with dastardly dad Edward Hutchinson, so expect the twists and turns ahead of the milestone to start swiftly from September.