Industrial news

Equity responds to planned reduction of Hollyoaks episodes

Equity is concerned by the decision of Channel 4 to cut Hollyoaks from five episodes a week to three on a permanent basis, with a reduction in episode length down to 20 minutes. This new transmission pattern, which comes into effect from September, will mean a reduction in cast and crew. This news comes after the BBC’s announcement of the decommissioning of Doctors in October last year.

Continuing drama series have been dealt a real blow in the past six months and the detrimental impacts extend beyond the members of the casts, who are faced with job losses, to the wider industry. The likes of Hollyoaks and Doctors offer something unique to viewers, and indeed to the wider culture, which the high-end television production of the global streamers cannot hope to emulate – just like the UK audience which they reflect, they are distinctive and special. They provide opportunities and encourage investment in regions outside of London, which these regions are then deprived of when continuing drama series are reduced or decommissioned. Continuing drama is an incubator for talent, training both in-front and behind camera practitioners, which in turn makes for a highly skilled production landscape benefitting the entire film and TV industry in the UK.

We hope that the ‘multi-year contract’ which Lime, the production company that makes Hollyoaks, has entered into with Channel 4 does mean that the medium-term future of the production is secured. Equity are engaging with Lime and our members on the cast to ensure that the detrimental impact of any cuts are kept to a minimum.

These are worrying days for continuing drama on top of the market failure in the UK independent film industry, in which both Film4 and BBC Films play a significant role.


Latest News