Hollyoaks job cuts spark Equity concern as the union releases a statement

Performers' union Equity has expressed concerns about the recently-announced job cuts at Hollyoaks.

Last week, Channel 4 announced that, starting in September, Hollyoaks would be cut from five episodes to three per week from September as part of a multi-year deal with producers Lime.

Because of these cuts, production will be scaled back, and as many as a third of Hollyoaks staff — roughly 135 positions — could have their jobs on the line.

Channel 4's commissioning decision has sparked concern for fans of the show, as well as the unions representing the cast and crew working on Hollyoaks.

sienna blake and dilly harcourt in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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The most recent group to weigh in is the Equity performers union, which has said "these are worrying days for continuing drama" in a statement of concern.

Here is the Equity statement in full: "Equity is concerned by the decision of Channel 4 to cut Hollyoaks from five episodes a week to three on a permanent basis, with a reduction in episode length down to 20 minutes. This new transmission pattern, which comes into effect from September, will mean a reduction in cast and crew. This news comes after the BBC's announcement of the decommissioning of Doctors in October last year.

"Continuing drama series have been dealt a real blow in the past six months and the detrimental impacts extend beyond the members of the casts, who are faced with job losses, to the wider industry. The likes of Hollyoaks and Doctors offer something unique to viewers, and indeed to the wider culture, which the high-end television production of the global streamers cannot hope to emulate – just like the UK audience which they reflect, they are distinctive and special.

"They provide opportunities and encourage investment in regions outside of London, which these regions are then deprived of when continuing drama series are reduced or decommissioned."

hollyoaks stunt week,
Lime Pictures

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The Equity statement continued: "Continuing drama is an incubator for talent, training both in-front and behind camera practitioners, which in turn makes for a highly skilled production landscape benefitting the entire film and TV industry in the UK.

"We hope that the 'multi-year contract' which Lime, the production company that makes Hollyoaks, has entered into with Channel 4 does mean that the medium-term future of the production is secured. Equity are engaging with Lime and our members on the cast to ensure that the detrimental impact of any cuts are kept to a minimum.

"These are worrying days for continuing drama on top of the market failure in the UK independent film industry, in which both Film4 and BBC Films play a significant role."

sally st claire annie wallace in hollyoaks as myra mcqueen leaves
Lime Pictures

Previously, the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (Bectu) called Channel 4's Hollyoaks production reductions "devastating".

"We will do everything we can to support our affected members during this incredibly difficult time," Bectu's Philippa Childs said last week.

Hollyoaks cast member Annie Wallace, who plays Sally St. Claire, has also encouraged fans not to speculate about the loss of jobs while the cast and crew wait for solid plans from producers.

Hollyoaks streams first online via Channel 4 each weekday at 7.30pm. Episodes then air on E4 the following day, before getting their YouTube premiere a week after that.

Selected omnibus episodes are available via Prime Video.

Read more Hollyoaks spoilers on our dedicated homepage

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