Hollyoaks’ longest serving Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood announces he is stepping down from role at the end of the soap’s 25th anniversary year.
Bryan Kirkwood has announced he is leaving the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks, after a second stint as showrunner.
Bryan informed Lime Pictures MDs in March of his intention to depart at the end of 2020. His episodes will remain on screen until June 2021.
“For many years I have had the privilege of running a soap opera with a fiercely loyal audience. I passionately believe that soaps can help viewers start serious conversations about their lives and in recent years we have covered important topics within mental health, sexual consent, Far-Right radicalisation, male rape, sexual abuse and many issues other shows might look away from…
“It has also been a joy to deliver the plot buster stories that ‘can only happen on Hollyoaks’, stories that give our viewers an entertaining escape into a heightened world. I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, and I want to thank the entire team. Their talent, warmth, loyalty and friendship are why I stayed so long.
“The 25th anniversary feels like an elegant time to hand the reins over to someone else but I’m confident that the beating heart of Hollyoaks – the people who make it – will keep the show around for another 25 years.” – Bryan Kirkwood
Bryan’s initial three year helming of Hollyoaks (2006-2009) saw the programme enjoy awards success and soaring popularity. Hit storylines included a cot death storyline affecting Tony and Mandy Hutchinson, Hannah Ashworth’s anorexia, Clare Devine’s villainy, and the formation of soap super couple ‘McDean’.
After two years running EastEnders for BBC One, he returned to Lime for a second stint as Hollyoaks boss in 2012 and has since been responsible for hard-hitting storylines such as Ste Hay’s HIV and John Paul McQueen’s rape.
“Bryan’s passion for creating gloriously soapy characters that take fans from laughter to tears in a heartbeat, a rich imagination for nurturing compelling plot busters and his unwavering commitment to tell groundbreaking issue led stories mark him out as an outstanding Executive Producer of Hollyoaks. This has been rightly reflected in the multitude of awards that the series has ecured throughout his tenure at Lime. We would like to thank him for his dedication, care and commitment to the show throughout the last eight years.” – Claire Poyser and Kate Little, Lime Pictures MDs
Hollyoaks was awarded with six best soap awards between 2018-2020. These included being recognised twice by Broadcast plus the Royal Television Society, The British Soap Awards, Inside Soap magazine and the Digital Spy Reader Awards. During his tenure Bryan has also been lauded for his commitment to raising awareness of mental health and LGBTQ+ issues, leading Stonewall to award Hollyoaks ‘Broadcast of the decade’ and the MIND Media ‘Making a Difference’ Award.
“Bryan has been the untiring creative force behind the extraordinary resurgence of Hollyoaks. He’s taken the show into new territory with some extraordinarily brave storylines and soap firsts and collected numerous awards. I’m immensely grateful for his steering of the show safely back to screen next week and leaving it in top creative form and I wish him all the best for his next chapter.” – Ian Katz, C4 Director of Programmes
Caroline Hollick, Head of C4 Drama, added: “Working with Bryan has been both utterly inspirational and enormous fun. Under his leadership, Hollyoaks has become a true gamechanger in the soap world, and while I’m heartbroken to say goodbye, I can’t wait to see what he achieves next.”
Hollyoaks is set to return to Channel 4 on Monday 7th September after taking a break due to Covid-19. E4 has been showing classic episodes whilst the soap has been off-air.