Hollyoaks is to air a storyline about far-right radicalisation to raise awareness of this issue in the UK.
The Channel 4 soap has worked with experts and charities to help tell the story, where Ste, played by Kieron Richardson, becomes radicalised by newcomer Jonny, played by Ray Quinn (below).
The number of people referred to the government’s anti-extremism programme because of right-wing extremism went up by 28% to 968 in 2016-17.
The storyline will begin in January.
Research For The Storyline
Author Jamie Bartlett has worked with Hollyoaks on this story, and shadowed movements with extremist views last year for his book, Radicals, said:
“It’s vital that we get beyond the caricatures and understand the way extremists really operate,”
He went on to add that far-right groomers exploit “legitimate personal grievances”.
This exploitation is what viewers will see happen to the character of Ste, who blames Dr Misbah Maalik for the death of his sister Tegan.
“Having the chance to see the storyline unfold slowly over time will help viewers understand the reality of these groups: why and how people end up getting sucked in,”
Hollyoaks writers also took advice from the organisation Exit UK, which works with the Home Office to help people who have become involved in far-right groups.
About 16% of referrals to the government’s anti-radicalisation programme, Prevent, were because of far-right concerns in 2016-17, official figures show.
For more information about Prevent in Warwickshire, including details of our action plan, access to the Channel Panel referral form, and how to book on to training around this area, please visit our Prevent page.