Hollyoaks’ award-winning docu-series IRL returns for second season and explores women’s safety
Hollyoaks’ digital docu-series, which explores real-life stories that inspired the show’s biggest issues, has been recommissioned for a second series and will return this month.
The first series of Hollyoaks: IRL featured viewers of the Channel 4 soap whose lives have been forever changed by watching the popular serial, as well as individuals whose lived experiences helped shape some of the show’s most important and talked about storylines.
The second, which debuts on Wednesday (January 18), opens with story of activist Zan Moon, who was sexually harassed on the London Underground. Zan has campaigned for increased CCTV cameras on transport to keep women safe.
The episode is titled Hollyoaks IRL: Attacked and Ignored.
Zan and her girlfriend were verbally abused by a man on a packed carriage, using intimidating sexual language. Unchallenged by commuters they were forced to flee.
Sadly, Zan already had first-hand experience of abuse against women, having begun a campaign about the abuse she and her peers suffered at school.
She wrote an open letter to schools across the country, with 14 pages of testimonies from female students at the schools, resulting in a meeting with the Department of Education.
Zan’s experiences were echoed in Hollyoaks’ acclaimed Long Walk Home episode, which aired last year, which saw Maxine Minniver (Nikki Sanderson) attempt to make her way home safely following a night out with her friends.
But she was subjected to cat-calling, intimidation and was later sexually assaulted and attacked.
Sorry, this video isn’t available yet.
In the first episode of Hollyoaks IRL series two, Zan meets with Maxine star Nikki Sanderson and describes how her assailant was never caught, revealing the effect it has had on her life.
‘A basic human right is safety and we are being denied that,’ Zan says to Nikki during the episode. ‘It’s a matter of life or death and that’s how important it is to me.’
Nikki, meanwhile, said: ‘It was lovely to meet Zan. Hearing her story and how she has taken such a negative experience in her life and made so many positive steps forward in making changes which will keep people safe on our streets was truly inspiring.’
Future episodes of the second series will exam alcoholism, incel subculture, knife-crime and teenage cancer.
Matt Risley, Managing Director of 4Studio said: ‘Amplifying fan conversation online is a huge part of 4Studio’s strategy, and Hollyoaks IRL is the perfect example of how to do that in a way that’s engaging for existing and new fans of Hollyoaks alike.
‘Season 2 helps give a voice to our audiences’ most personal stories in the emotive, affecting way that viewers really responded to from the first.’
Hollyoaks IRL’s first series, which explored depression, suicide, county lines child exploitation, disability, eating disorders and conversion therapy, was nominated for a BAFTA TV award and won an RTS North West Award.
If you’ve got a soap or TV story, video or pictures get in touch by emailing us [email protected] – we’d love to hear from you.
Join the community by leaving a comment below and stay updated on all things soaps on our homepage.
MORE : Hollyoaks spoilers: Eric Foster receives a surprise visitor in prison
MORE : Hollyoaks spoilers: Lucas Hay, Ste’s son, recast with Oscar Curtis as huge new issue-led storyline is revealed