Hollyoaks Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood to Step Down at End of Year

Hollyoaks’ longest serving Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood announces he is stepping down from role at the end of the soap’s 25th anniversary year.

Award winning Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood has announced he is leaving the C4 soap Hollyoaks, after a second stint as showrunner.

Bryan told Lime Pictures MDs in March of his intention to depart at the end of 2020. His episodes will remain on screen until June 2021.

In October Hollyoaks will celebrate its 25th birthday after first airing on October 23rd 1995.

Bryan, who created many of the show’s most popular and enduring characters including the McQueen family, has been behind the show’s most groundbreaking storylines and award wins.

Bryan said of his departure: “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.” Lime Pictures MDs - Claire Poyser and Kate Little - added: “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 secured 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.”

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.

Across 2018 to 2020, Hollyoaks was awarded with six Best Soap and Continuing Drama awards. 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.

Ian Katz, C4 Director of Programmes, said: “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.”

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.”

Note to editors:

Bryan’s first executive producer role ran from January 2006- December 2009 He re-joined in June 2012 and will leave at the end of 2020.

Hollyoaks’ biggest awards have ranged from viewer voted soap awards, to being recognised by leading industry experts at Broadcast, Mind and The Royal Television Society for its issuebased storylines and campaigns.

Most recently, Hollyoaks received the award for ‘Podcast of the Year’ from DigiDay Media Awards Europe for its #DontFilterFeelings series. In 2019, DigiDay gave Hollyoaks the award for ‘Best Social Good’, again for the #DontFilterFeelings mental health campaign.

In 2018, the #DontFilterFeelings mental health campaign also won the RTS North West Award for Best Digital Content and the Mind Media Award for ‘Making A Difference’. Across 2018 and 2019, Hollyoaks was awarded with five Best Soap and Continuing Drama awards. These included Broadcast, RTS, The British Soap Awards, Inside Soap magazine and the Digital Spy Reader Awards.

Similarly, the show’s portrayals of self-harm, abuse and male depression picked up seven awards collectively across 2017, 2018 and 2019, which included: Best Actor wins for Adam Woodward at the British Soap Awards and Inside Soap Awards; Best Male Dramatic Performance for Ross Adams at The British Soap Awards; and Best Storyline and Best Single Episode for Lily’s Self-harm at The British Soap Awards. The Mind Media Awards also awarded Hollyoaks with the Soaps and Continuing Series gong for Scott’s depression in 2017. In 2014 Hollyoaks was named Best British Soap for the first time in the awards history.