Hollyoaks is set to air an hour-long special episode made entirely by the show's Black talent, Channel 4 has announced.
The episode, which will air next year, has been confirmed as part of a Black Takeover of the channel that will mark a year since the international protests and debates sparked by the killing of George Floyd and lead into Black History Month 2021.
As part of the day's schedule, Hollyoaks will showcase a special hour-long episode that will be entirely written, directed and performed by the show's Black talent and spotlight the soap's Black cast.
The day's programming will also include a one-off return of The Big Breakfast presented by Mo Gilligan, as well as episodes of Channel 4's biggest flagship shows hosted by Black talent, including Celebrity Gogglebox, Countdown and Channel 4 News, which will be led by an all-Black presenting and reporting team.
The announcement of the Hollyoaks special comes months after Lisa Loveday actress Rachel Adedeji called out the soap for its response to the Black Lives Matter protests and raised concerns about her unfair treatment as a Black person on the set of Hollyoaks.
Several of her co-stars shared their support for Rachel, while stars including Richard Blackwood (who plays Felix Westwood), Talia Grant (Brooke Hathaway) and Trevor A Toussaint (Walter Deveraux), later united for a special podcast that addressed "systemic racism" in the TV industry, including at Hollyoaks' production company Lime Pictures.
Hollyoaks later announced a new diversity action plan following an investigation into racism allegations, and shared plans to introduce a number of measures as it aims to "improve and learn from our mistakes".
Speaking about the soap's racism allegations at the Edinburgh TV Festival, Channel 4 boss Ian Katz said that "what happened in Hollyoaks was in many ways quite heartening" (via Metro).
"A number of people felt emboldened probably by the events of the last few months, to discuss the experiences they have had which were really concerning," he continued.
"Lime [Pictures] reacted to that in the most open and self-critical way, thoroughly investigated all the claims that were made and has introduced really a quite ambitious and thorough action plan to tackle them.
"And I think everybody on the cast of Hollyoaks, and crew of Hollyoaks, feels they have responded with real seriousness and openness."
Hollyoaks returns with all-new episodes on Monday, September 7 at 6.30pm on Channel 4, followed by a first-look episode at 7pm on E4.
For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.
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