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'Hollyoaks' to launch online anti-bullying initiative

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Hollyoaks bosses are launching a special online project to tie in with Esther Bloom's ongoing bullying storyline.

Esther, played by Jazmine Franks, is currently experiencing a tough time at sixth form college as her so-called friends continue to tease and isolate her.

Jazmine Franks as Esther Bloom in Hollyoaks

© Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks logo

© Lime Pictures



The plot develops further this week as fellow student Dylan Shaw (Mikey Riddington-Smith) innocently creates his own micro-blogging site DocYou to enter a filmmaking competition.

When the other sixth formers begin to misuse Dylan's creation, it soon becomes a public forum to broadcast humiliating content about Esther, which makes her situation even more unbearable.

Hollyoaks are now teaming up with Channel 4 Education and Beatbullying to bring the fictional micro-blogging site online for real. DocYou will allow viewers to further explore the emotional storyline through a range of exclusive content, including videos, photos and text posts.

Show chiefs hope that the project will help to highlight the impact of social media on everyday life - including the issues of cyber bullying, privacy and the pitfalls of revealing too much online.

Esther's antics cause laughter from Sinead.

© Lime Pictures

Ruby, Maddie, Sinead and Neil look on.

© Lime Pictures



A Hollyoaks statement said: "The project is supported by Beatbullying and will explore the impact of social media on everyday life, and what happens when somebody is constantly picked on in small ways.

"This ground-breaking initiative will add a whole new level of depth to the story and highlight how easy it is to miss what is really happening on a site full of seemingly benign content, and how this content can become an additional source of bullying for some people."

Content will also include behind-the-scenes videos of the Hollyoaks cast talking about the issues raised and their own experiences with bullies.

Additionally, Hollyoaks will work with Beatbullying offline on a series of other initiatives, which will see some cast members train and shadow as cyber mentors to raise awareness of the issues involved.

Esther Bloom - played by Jazmine Franks

© Lime Pictures

Scarlett Bowman as Maddie Morrison

© Channel 4


Hollyoaks: Sinead

© Channel 4

Ruby Button - played by Anna Shaffer

© Channel 4



Esther's bullying storyline launched in May but has become more serious in recent weeks as Maddie Morrison (Scarlett Bowman), Sinead O'Connor (Stephanie Davis) and Ruby Button (Anna Shaffer) have been making her life a misery at college.

It has now been confirmed that the story will develop "right through to the New Year", leaving Esther in a lonely and desperate situation as the 'teasing' worsens.

Hollyoaks' executive producer Bryan Kirkwood commented: "Hollyoaks has always had a youth focus and we never shy away from tackling difficult youth issues. I am really proud of this story and how it realistically approaches bullying, which is so relevant to our audience."

Channel 4 Education editor Gemma Brady added: "We are delighted to be working with Hollyoaks on this project. The show has a strong track record of tackling difficult issues and feels like the perfect home to explore the complexities of bullying in a connected age."

DocYou will go live tomorrow evening (October 25) at 7pm after the Channel 4 airing of Hollyoaks. Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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