I’m not a regular watcher of Hollyoaks; it’s camp enough to admit you’re a grown man who is a little bit addicted to the ‘adult’ soaps without confessing you also watch Hollyoaks (or, this century’s Grange Hill, as I often think of it).
Like the fickle sod I am, I have found myself tuning in when something major happens. I did watch a minibus plough into a wedding party and explode, flattening a nasty blonde lass with a vehicle door. I also watched when someone was chased menacingly through a tower block to a point there they were caught in an elevator collapse. Interestingly, both of those storylines are about to be re-enacted, but the last time I tuned in was basically for a cheap thrill at seeing gorgeous young people in peril. This time, when I happened to catch the omnibus, I realised that, since my last foray into Chester, Hollyoaks had suddenly got… well, GOOD.
It did recently win the accolade of ‘Soap Of The Year’ at the British Soap Awards but I, rather negatively, had that pegged down to some enthusiastic teenage fans multi voting to an obsessive degree. It transpires that I was badly wrong; Hollyoaks very much deserved its pat on the back.
The selection of episodes I found myself drawn into focused heavily on the rape trial of Finn O’Connor, who had carried out brutal attacks on two teachers in Chester, one male and one female. Given that I write for PauseLiveAction, I pride myself on knowing what’s going on in most of the soaps, so it didn’t take me too long to catch up. It took me even less time to be pulled in.
The performances and the writing were seriously gripping. The injustice of the trial against victim John Paul was heartbreaking to watch and the side story of his partner Ste’s drug addiction pushing him to behave out of character was equally powerful. Hollyoaks had suddenly for me (and possibly a long time ago for many others) made the transition from glossy teen drama to serious soap competitor.
The tension built in the court scenes was electric; my fingernails were gnawed to the very flesh of my digits even though I’d already seen what the outcome was on Twitter. The chilling performance of Keith Rice as the evil Finn as he churned out vicious lies against his victim was convincing and, in the five minutes I knew of him, he ranked as one of my most hated villains of all time. Similarly the portrayals by James Sutton (John Paul) and Kieron Richardson (Ste), particularly in the scene where Ste stopped John Paul fleeing town when the verdict looked bad, was some of the best television acting and writing I have seen in some time. Even Jacqui Dixon from Brookside, a character from the defunct Scouse soap who was easily the most infuriating in the history of TV, played a blinder.
Even though I simply do not have the schedule to embrace it, I might have just inadvertently become a Hollyoaks fan. And, for the first of the times I’ve had a sneaky watch, I’m not ashamed to admit it.
What are your thoughts on Hollyoaks? If you still need your Chester cherries popped, take a look at their Autumn trailer here and see why you are missing out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RRFQoEmP48
Meanwhile, pop over to Twitter and follow me for more sensational (in the words of my followers, honestly) banter. Link is here: https://twitter.com/Our_manPLA
Written By Our Man In The North