Hollyoaks has announced that actress Lauren McQueen is leaving the show; her character, Lily, contracting sepsis as a consequence of self-harming.

Hollyoaks will air an emotional episode on Wednesday 10th April at 7pm on E4 in a dramatic week focusing on Lily McQueen’s battle with self-harming.

“I was honoured to be given such a huge story that carried a lot of responsibility. Even though it was challenging and emotional I really hope I did it justice and hope it raises a lot of awareness to the audience.” – Lauren McQueen, who plays Lily

At the beginning of the week, Lily will admit herself in to a mental health facility, but will run away with her boyfriend Romeo Quinn, without telling her auntie, and guardian, Diane Hutchinson (played by Alex Fletcher). After running tests, the hospital discovers that Lily has sepsis, which is spreading to her internal organs, but Lily has left before they can tell her.

In the episode, scenes flash to and from memories with Lily’s mum and in real time, with Romeo and Lily waiting for their train, and Diane, Tony and Prince desperately trying to find her. Lily’s health starts to deteriorate drastically, and although her family rush to her aid, they are unable to make it in time.

As ever with sensitive and hard-hitting storylines, Hollyoaks undertook research as part of the storylining process, this time working with the charity UK Sepsis Trust. 

“It’s been fantastic working with the Hollyoaks team on this storyline that highlights how potentially devastating sepsis can be. Although cases like Lily’s only represent around 10% of incidences of sepsis, the ‘killer condition’ can arise from any infection and strikes indiscriminately, affecting the previously fit and healthy.

 

“The key to ending preventable deaths from sepsis is awareness, and we’re so grateful to Hollyoaks for helping to raise the profile of a condition that affects so many and yet is still so poorly recognised. Together we want to encourage everyone, not just professionals to ‘Just ask: could it be sepsis?’ and to change the way sepsis is handled in the UK.” – Dr Ron Daniels, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust

During this week, at the start of each episode, spoken word poetry written by poet Hussain Manawer is heard over Lily’s scenes.

Hussain told Metro Online that he had been able to really connect with the character of Lily through his own pain, noting “I could relate to her, it was a beautiful thing. [The song I wrote] called Gone Too Soon – it’s really deep. I’m angry, I’ve lost friends to suicide. I hope that it really helps people understanding the impact of self harm.”

“I am hoping that viewers will see that the seriousness of contracting sepsis through self-harm can have catastrophic consequences. I have felt affected by this storyline as we’ve all given it 100%. It’s carried so much responsibility to get it right with the support of all the charities involved,” – Alex Fletcher, who plays Diane Hutchinson (Lily’s Auntie) added

Following its E4 screening, the episode will be shown again on Thursday 11th April at 6.30pm on Channel 4.

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