Hollyoaks 'could face AXE' after losing almost half its viewers

21 June 2019, 12:09 | Updated: 5 September 2019, 15:18

Hollyoaks could be facing an uncertain future
Hollyoaks could be facing an uncertain future. Picture: Channel 4/Lime Pictures
Naomi Bartram

By Naomi Bartram

The Channel 4 soap is reportedly 'in crisis' after a serious ratings drop from the start of the year.

Hollyoaks has been on our screens for almost 25 years, but now the Channel 4 soap could be in crisis after losing a huge amount of viewers in recent months.

According to The Sun, bosses are desperately trying to come up with big storylines in order to win back loyal fans of the show.

The publication claims that while 710,000 people tuned in every weekday at the start of the year, now only 450,000 watch each episode.

During particularly low days, ratings have dipped to 385,000 which is a stark difference to the 1m viewers who tuned in four years ago at the end of 2015.

The Hollyoaks cast at the British Soap Awards 2019
The Hollyoaks cast at the British Soap Awards 2019. Picture: PA Images

A TV insider said: “Ratings for Hollyoaks have been on a downward trajectory in 2019 and Channel 4 fear they won’t recover.

“It’s one of their most iconic programmes and has been on air for almost 25 years, so of course they don’t want to see it go. But they need to justify its existence and the numbers won’t have to go much lower before that becomes impossible. This is a last-ditch effort.”

The news comes after Hollyoaks recently scooped the award for Best Soap at the British Soap Awards - something which Channel 4 bosses are said to be “shocked about”.

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Cast members Gregory Finnegan, Nathan Sussex and Adam Woodward also won individual gongs for ‘Best Actor’, ‘Villain of the Year’ and ‘Best Male Dramatic Performance’.

A spokeswoman for Channel 4 has since refuted the claims, telling us: "Hollyoaks is hugely valued and not under threat and we’re of course very happy and proud of the well-deserved Best Soap award win.

"It has a huge reach for 16-34 audiences, in fact our share of this demo on E4 – the first look episode – is up. Which means Hollyoaks is the only UK soap to be up year on year."

This comes after the soap was praised for it’s sensitive covering of the on-going far-right extremism storyline with Ste Hay.

Viewers have seen the shock plot continue, with Ste being officially initiated into the dangerous Stuart Sumner and Jonny Baxter's racist group.

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Speaking about the controversial storyline, actor Kieron Richardson - who plays Ste - recently admitted he’s glad he agreed to take on the role, telling OK! Magazine: "It is so hard to watch and it is very controversial but it has to be like that as that is real life.

"I deleted my Twitter because people were hating on me and I was then trying to water down my performance as I didn't want to offend people, but that is the wrong way to do it.

Ste Hay actor Kieron Richardson opened up about his tough storyline
Ste Hay actor Kieron Richardson opened up about his tough storyline. Picture: Channel 4/Lime Pictures

"I just got rid of it and now I go in every day and I do it to the best of my ability."

Viewers of the soap are also set to see a lot more drama in the coming weeks as Breda looks to have her eyes on her next victim, while Finn O'Connor and Luke Morgan are both set to return.

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