Hollyoaks’ Sarah Jayne Dunn says ‘sexy’ storylines have helped make soap a hit

Hollyoaks star Sarah Jayne Dunn has praised the 'sexy' storylines and says she'd love to be in the show for 25 more years.

When the Channel 4 soap first launched in 1995 it was slated, but 25 years on it is still going strong.

Sarah, 39, reckons its longevity means the cast have proved the critics wrong.

And she reckons it’s the sexy storylines that have made it such a hit.

She said: “When Hollyoaks started it was something new and people weren’t sure what it was.

“It didn’t follow the same kind of credentials as the other soaps, so instantly people went, ‘Well, this isn’t going to work’.

“But what we’ve done is totally prove them wrong. Hopefully some of those critics have become viewers along the way.”

Hollyoaks has always been most famous for having the sex factor.

It has starred some of the hottest celebs on TV and for many years there were official calendars featuring racy snaps of the show’s hunks and babes.

Sarah, who has played Mandy Richardson since 1996, said: “Hollyoaks was known for being the sexy soap.

“It was sold on the glitz and glamour of that and it made it different from the other soaps. That’s what young people like to see.

“It hasn’t meant the talent hasn’t been there, and I don’t think that’s the only thing people think of when they talk about Hollyoaks now. It’s just one element of the show.”

Hollyoaks, which is set in Chester, burst on to screens in October 1995 with storylines aimed at younger viewers.

Since then it has broken boundaries by tackling topics including male rape, euthanasia, suicide,

mental health issues, human trafficking and far-right extremism.

It marked its 25th birthday last week with special episodes that saw the return of favourites including Jeremy Edwards and Jorgie Porter.

Sarah said: “It is crazy to think the show has been on for 25 years. And it’s great that it’s still going strong and I can be part of it.

“It’s a show that appeals to so many people – young and old both love it. A lot of people have grown up watching it.

“We tackle some really big, challenging storylines. It’s never too heavy but we do have hard-hitting stuff.”

The special episodes to mark the 25th milestone had to be filmed under tough restrictions because of coronavirus. But the cast refused to let that stop them giving it their all.

Sarah said: “We didn’t know if we’d get back on set this year. So when we did, we were all so pleased to be able to film these episodes and to be able to mark it.

“I’m sure we will make up for it next year. We’re going to milk this anniversary. It would be great to one day have a really big party to celebrate.”

Sarah is ready to stay on for another 25 years.

She added: “I hope I’m there for the 50th – I might be there on my Zimmer frame though!”

Hollyoaks returns to Channel 4 and E4 on on Monday at 6:30pm and 7pm

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