HOLLYOAKS has begun filming its special one-hour episode to showcase its black talent.
The Channel 4 soap will air a special episode starring exclusively black actors on-screen and a core team of black talent in every behind the scenes department.
The episode will play a pivotal part in Channel 4’s Black to Front, the ground-breaking diversity project culminating in a special day of content on Friday September 10.
Across the day Channel 4 will broadcast programming fronted by Black talent and featuring Black contributors, to champion Black voices and stories, and the incredible Black talent that make, shape and star in British TV.
Black to Front is part of Channel 4’s on-going commitment to improve Black representation on and off screen. From breakfast right through to late night, some of Channel 4’s most iconic shows will have Black talent at the forefront.
Hollyoaks will air a special episode – written by Hollyoaks core team writer Thabo Mhlatshwa – anchored around the pivotal Black Deveraux family.
Hopefully this will allow our audience to come on a journey with us, understanding our culture and realising the fundamentals that make us all the same.
They will be joined by characters past and, present, as well as some newcomers who are set to become regular faces in Chester, all played by Black and of Black heritage talent.
The setting for the episode is a family party for Reverend Walter Deveraux’s birthday.
Many costumes for the event were sourced from local black retailers and the concept for traditional dress was worked on collaboratively with cast members including Trevor Toussaint, who plays Walter.
The episode features an original score by acclaimed London-based composer Bankey Ojo, who has previously supervised high-profile dramas and commercials for the likes of BET, Channel 4, Adidas and Beats by Dre.
His unique approach to sound and the relationship between music and storytelling is used fully throughout, adding yet another layer of nuance and power to a number of key storylines.
Once cultural differences are understood, this can often dissipate hatred, racism or bigotry, simply by telling truthful stories we can all relate to.
Actress Kelle Bryan said: “This Black to Front episode is a celebration of family traditions, which have historically held Black families and Black communities together since migration. Our purpose is to make a meaningful contribution to the Black to Front tapestry aptly curated by Channel 4.
“Capitalising on Hollyoaks’ youthful viewership, hopefully this will allow our audience to come on a journey with us, understanding our culture and realising the fundamentals that make us all the same.
“Once cultural differences are understood, this can often dissipate hatred, racism or bigotry, simply by telling truthful stories we can all relate to.”
Patrick Gibson will direct the episode, while the four episodes leading up to it will be directed by Paulette Randall, MBE.
Hollyoaks is produced by a range of staff and freelancers. Key Black talent, who have joined for the hour-long special will continue to work on future episodes.
As a result of Black to Front, The production has opened up traineeships in departments including sound, cameras, costume and digital, leading to either a retained, paid, role or qualification in that area of expertise.
Five new cast members in the episode will stay on as series regulars. There are two Black guest stars who have joined for the one-off episode.
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