Hollyoaks will air special flashforward scenes at the end of this year, as a dark new issue-based storyline begins.
Show bosses have made plans for a special hour-long New Year episode, giving viewers a sneak peek at dramatic events to come 12 months in the future.
The Channel 4 soap has decided to explore the topical issue of ‘County Lines’ drug dealing, exploring how it affects the village’s younger characters and the local community as a whole.
‘County Lines’ refers to gangs from big cities, who target young people and vulnerable adults to sell their drugs in smaller towns around the country.
Figures released last month showed that 4,000 people in London have been recruited by gangs who are looking to expand their drugs operations around the UK.
Hollyoaks fans will see this storyline begin as the village celebrates New Year’s Eve. Special scenes included in this episode will offer a glimpse at New Year’s Eve in 2020, showing how life is very different for the villagers a year later.
Speaking to Digital Spy, Hollyoaks‘ executive producer Bryan Kirkwood commented: “In 2020, we want to explore what happens when the Hollyoaks community – and the school in particular – comes under threat from County Lines drug dealers.
“We kick it off in quite an ambitious way in our New Year special, which is an hour-long episode. It shows three different New Year parties.
“You’ll see the mums, as Nancy is throwing a party. The older teens – Romeo, Tom, Peri, and Yazz – are having a party of their own. You’ll see the younger teens like Charlie, Ella and Leah too.
“Across each of the parties, we flash forward to New Year’s Eve next year to see some of our best-loved characters in really dramatic and surprising situations, a whole 12 months in advance.
“We’re really excited about that. It’s terrifying, as we’ll need to make sure we’ve got all of the cast in the right place in 12 months’ time! One of the most traumatising things is anybody changing their hair!
“But what it gives us is a really hard-hitting look at the future.”
The Hollyoaks team were inspired to tackle this issue after the positive response to the show’s far-right extremism storyline, which has seen Ste Hay become radicalised.
Kirkwood added: “We’ve been inspired by the way the far-right story has been received. County Lines drug dealing is another issue that is all over the news at the moment.
“We’ve seen how drug dealers come in from big cities like Manchester, Liverpool and London and invade very suburban, leafy places like Hollyoaks village. Hopefully this story can pick up the mantle where the far-right story leaves off.”
Hollyoaks airs weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first look screenings at 7pm on E4.
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