The Latest Celebrity News & Showbiz Gossip
Tuesday 10th December 2019

Why Hollyoaks deserved to win Best Soap at The British Soap Awards

Think you know Hollyoaks? Think again!

The British Soap Awards 2019 saw a huge shock when Hollyoaks was named Best Soap.

The top prize is usually taken home by one of the big three: Coronation Street, EastEnders, or Emmerdale, but Hollyoaks deservedly walked away the winners on Saturday night (June 1).

With lower viewing figures than the other three soaps, and a widely held (misguided) belief that it's purely for a teenage audience, Hollyoaks often fails to get the recognition it deserves.

But it's about time it was celebrated.

With five episodes going out a week and a cast and crew who work as hard as any other, Hollyoaks has earned its place up there with the big guns.

Here's why Hollyoaks deserved to win the Best Soap title - and what you're missing out on if you don't watch it!

Read more: Hollyoaks wins Best Soap at the British Soap Awards

Hollyoaks tackles the big issues

Brody and Ollie stood up to their abuser (Credit: Lime Pictures)

While on the surface it might look like Hollyoaks is all beautiful people, wearing beautiful clothes, living beautiful lifestyles, that's not where it ends.

Historic sexual abuse in football, far-right extremism, rape, the #metoo movement, self-harming, and life-threatening medical conditions are just some of the huge issues Hollyoaks has addressed in the past year alone.

The story of Buster Smith abusing young boys, including Brody Hudson, who were part of his football academy saw actor Adam Woodward (Brody) walk away with the Best Male Dramatic Performance award, and Nathan Sussex (Buster) given the dubious title Villain of the Year.

The powerful moment when Brody confronted his abuser after 11 years of torment moved viewers to tears. And when Buster was finally found guilty of abusing Ollie Morgan, emotions ran high both on-screen and off it.

But it's not just the actors' performances which should be praised here, it's the level of research, the attention to detail and the truthful telling of real people's stories that Hollyoaks does better than any other soap.

More often than not they are the first to tackle the big, challenging, and controversial issues that other soaps shy away from.

Without taking anything away from the stunning telling of David Platt's rape in Corrie, Hollyoaks covered male rape in 2000 when Luke Morgan (Gary Lucy) was raped by a football teammate, and again in 2014 when teacher John-Paul McQueen (James Sutton) was raped by pupil Finn O'Connor (Keith Rice).

Hollyoaks will always tell people's stories accurately and carefully, but without sugar-coating any of the horror.

Hollyoaks is not afraid to take risks

Ste's extremism is a risky move (Credit: Lime Pictures)

The show will do whatever is necessary to tell their stories.

Take, for example, the current far-right extremism story centred around Ste Hay (Kieron Richardson).

Ste has been in Hollyoaks for 13 years and has been through everything from being an abusive boyfriend, to being the abused, being diagnosed with HIV and struggling with drug addiction.

Enduring Ste is now one of the soap's most popular characters, so to take him and turn him into a far-right extremist, preaching racism and attacking innocent Muslims, is a huge risk.

Kieron himself has admitted he's been forced to come off Twitter due to horrendous trolling since the storyline began.

But Hollyoaks know there is a story there to be told, how easy it is for vulnerable, mixed up people to be pulled into that world of hate.

It's a story that should be told. That must be told. Hollyoaks are not afraid to tell it.

Hollyoaks do stunts like no other soap

The storm nearly claimed Lily's life (Credit: Lime Pictures)

The other soaps try, sometimes they even make a good effort - the Emmerdale Hotton bypass crash and the Corrie tram crash (let's not even talk about EastEnders' dragon slide) - but it's Hollyoaks that manages to pull it off every time.

From Niall Rafferty blowing up a church with the entire McQueen family inside, to fires at Il Gnosh, The Dog In The Pond, and the student flats, a train crash, a spooky Halloween maze going up in flames, and a giant storm causing devastation in the village, Hollyoaks shoots a stunt like no other.

They're big, they're bold and they're often breathtaking in their scale - as are the huge storylines created from the  aftermath.

Every October sees the soap celebrate its anniversary and you can almost always guarantee a huge stunt and at least one death. It's nice to be able to rely on something, isn't it?

With the soap's 25th anniversary coming up in October 2020, it's a must-see moment already.

Hollyoaks is totally bonkers

Sienna had a baby with her twin brother (Credit: Lime Pictures)

Yes, they tackle issues, yes they take risks, and yes they do explosive stunts, but Hollyoaks is also brilliant at being really, really bonkers!

In what other soap would you see a granny serial killer like Breda McQueen vowing to take revenge on all the bad parents out there by offing them?

Or come across the term 'twincest' as Sienna Blake and her twin brother Marc 'Dodger' Savage hooked up without knowing they were brother and sister and made baby Nico (who turned out to be a pyscho serial killer?).

Or have the same Sienna faking a pregnancy complete with baby bump she bought off the internet?

Or have Carmel McQueen singing a duet with Welsh songstress Bonnie Tyler in a dream.

Or have Kevin the Alien landing and living in Hollyoaks village for a time... (okay, maybe not this one).

They tackle humour effortlessly and in an on-screen world full of dark, issue-based storylines, it's good to have more than a little light relief.

Hollyoaks embraces diversity

Hollyoaks threw a Pride party (Credit: Lime Pictures)

More than any other soap, Hollyoaks champions the LGBTQ+ community, has actors and characters with diabilities and challenges, and represents different cultures.

They have more gay and lesbian characters than Walford, Weatherfield, and the Dales put together, as well as having the first transgender person playing a regular transgender character in Soapland in the form of Annie Wallace (Sally St Claire).

They also have a teen with autism, a deaf child, a child with Down's syndrome, and a teacher in a wheelchair.

Yet the brilliant thing about all of these characters is that these things do not define them. The storylines aren't about them being gay or disabled, these are just a part of the character, not the only part.

Hollyoaks is full of beautiful people

Okay, so having said it's not just about beautiful people living perfect lives, there is an element of glamour about it - and sometimes we just need that on our tellies.

Isn't it nice amongst the doom and gloom of real life to sometimes watch people who are a bit glamorous and a bit gorgeous?

We don't always want things to be quite so real, we often watch TV for some escapist nonsense. I mean, after all, who pops to the corner shop in stiletos and a mini-skirt? A Hollyoaks' girl, that's who!

Hollyoaks has Tony Hutchinson

Nick has been part of the cast since day one (Credit: Lime Pictures)

Coronation Street has Ken Barlow, EastEnders has Ian Beale, and Hollyoaks has Tony Hutchinson.

A stalwart of nearly 24 years Nick Pickard has played Tony since the first episode and remains at the heart of storylines today.

Where would we be without Tony Hutchinson? Hollyoaks would certainly be a very different place, that's for sure.

Read more: Hollyoaks stars reveal pregnancy joy on the red carpet 

Hollyoaks is on Monday to Friday at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with a first look episode at 7pm on E4.

Do you love Hollyoaks? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think!