Hollyoaks is AXED from Channel 4 after 28 years on its main channel

Hollyoaks is AXED from Channel 4 after 28 years: Programme will move permanently to alternate station with episodes also going on YouTube in bid to make it ‘Britain’s first national digital-led soap

  • Bosses confirmed he soap is being moved indefinitely from main channel to E4 

Channel 4 has just announced that they will not be airing Hollyoaks episodes for the first time in 28 years on its main channel. 

Bosses have pulled the plug on Hollyoaks from being aired on it main channel Channel 4, in a new digital strategy to freshen up viewing experiences with the state-owned broadcaster.

The broadcaster announced today that the new schedule pattern launches on Monday 25th September and promises viewers ‘a massive stunt week of spectacular and standout storylines’ with ‘scenes shot in sensational new locations’. 

But, fans of the soap, which started in 1995, may be relived to hear that the show is not being axed, but moved to its sister channel E4 in a bid to shake-up the schedule. 

The most devoted of the soap based in the drama-filled Chester village will still be able to catch the weekly omnibus which will continue to be broadcast on Channel 4.

Episodes will also be uploaded onto Youtube to suit younger audiences, and will be made available to watch on YouTube the week after streaming and broadcast on E4.

Channel 4 has just announced that they will not airing Hollyoaks episodes for the first time in 28 years

The 2005 episode which horrified viewers, when Becca, a teacher trapped in loveless marriage, slept with her student Justin, won Best Storyline at the British Soap Awards in 2006

In 2006, sweethearts Claire and Max married only for this things to take a dramatic turn when Claire Devine decided to kill her husband, Max, and cash in his £500,000 life insurance payout – actress Gemma Bissix won Best Villain at the British Soap Awards

The love triangle between John Paul, Craig, Sarah in 2007 reached the peak of drama as the affair between John Paul and Craig was revealed at the engagement party thrown by Frankie for her son, Craig and Sarah

In 2013, Hollyoaks presented viewers with a hard-hitting storyline that revealed the tragic consequences of bullying after Esther attempted to take her own life with pills after enduring months of torturous bullying in college

Dramatic: Finally the love triangle between Felix, his girlfriend Mercedes (Jennifer Metcalfe) and best friend Warren (Jamie Lomas) will conclude as Mercedes jeopardises her relationship with Felix (Richard Blackwood) by having a steamy night with Warren Fox at The Loft (pictured) 

Lies unfold: Rayne (Jemma Donovan) lies may be soon uncovered as Peri (Ruby O’Donnell) goes snooping and ends up putting herself in a dangerous situation

Tension: While Felix is hearing wedding bells for the pair, will Mercedes try to salvage what they have and take the next step, or continue on her path of self-destruction?

He’s back: Elsewhere fan favourite Mikey Starke of Brookside fame is returning to the soap as a resident cabbie

Channel 4 has been the home to Hollyoaks for nearly three decades, and this latest change suggests an effort to keep up with a digital age, and reflects the increasing appetite for on-demand entertainment. 

64 per cent of viewers watched the soap by streaming episodes or E4 this year which meant that 556 million minutes of the show being streamed in the first half of the year – signalling a shift in viewer habits. 

The broadcaster has dubbed Hollyoaks as the ‘UK’s first streaming-led soap’, by making episodes available to stream the day before they are broadcast on E4.

Channel 4’s Chief Content Officer, Ian Katz said: ‘Hollyoaks has always been the youngest and most innovative soap so it’s fitting that it should be the first to embrace the changes in the behaviour of younger viewers and switch to a genuinely digital-led release pattern. 

Hollyoaks were spotted filming emotional scenes in Brighton in January this year with fan favourites Juliet Nightingale and Peri Lomax 

Fan favourites Juliet Nightingale and Peri Lomax were spotted filming emotion scenes in Brighton, where they spent the weekend together

‘It was the first UK soap to move to a stream-first model last year and this is the next phase of that evolution. 

‘We hope making Hollyoaks available on YouTube, as well as our own platforms, will introduce a whole new generation to the show.’ 

The soap’s young fan base has propelled the broadcaster to put its demographic at the heart of its new streaming decisions, after it was discovered the number of people streaming episodes before they were aired on TV went up by 53 per cent on the equivalent period last year.

Channel 4 move towards a more digitally-led experience comes as the broadcaster received record viewing via streaming after releasing programmes, such as Married at First Sight UK and Married at First Sight Australia, aimed at a younger audience.

Some social media users suggested that this latest move was a part of the beginning of the end of the traditional TV, as more people become switch to on-demand programmes and apps. 

One user posted on X, formerly known as Twitter: ‘It’s astonishing people actually still watch telly to be honest. 

‘You have a massive variety of content to watch how when and where you want. From YouTube to Netflix to Prime to NowTV. Surely TV is on its last legs?’ 

Another user said: ‘The Channel 4 airing comes almost two days after the same episode goes online – and 24 hours after it’s first TV airing on E4. 

Announcement: Hollyoaks fans are in for a treat this September as the soap has confirmed a special stunt week for the show alongside an hour long episode which will air towards the end of the month

‘It was inevitable that it would be removed in this day and age of immediate viewing and streaming, but the show remains a hit’. 

Others appeared to not be phased by move, stating that they ‘didn’t even know [Hollyoaks] was still running’, branding the show ‘TV junk’ for its ‘poor story lines and bad acting’. 

The broadcaster said that Hollyoaks will continue its use its digital content to bring real-life focus to the fictional stories on-screen, which include the BAFTA-nominated Hollyoaks IRL, which tells the stories of real people affected by the show including themes around mental health, knife crime, violence against women and conversion therapy. 

This week, fans of show can look forward to a one hour special that aims to grip audiences with the uncovering of sordid secrets and murder plot twists. 

The broadcaster hinted at an ‘explosive turning point’ in the love triangle between Felix, his girlfriend Mercedes and best friend Warren, while a disturbing secret is uncovered about influencer Rayne, that could ultimately lead to her downfall. 

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