Hollyoaks star Isabelle Smith breaks silence on Frankie's dark story

Note: This story discusses topics including sibling sexual abuse.

Hollyoaks spoilers follow.

Hollyoaks star Isabelle Smith has broken her silence on her character Frankie Osborne's dark storyline.

Since arriving in the village in February, Frankie's twin brother JJ has subjected her to horrific abuse and regularly blackmails her into remaining silent.

The teenager has since sought escape by applying for a place at a dance academy, which she has kept a secret from dad Darren and stepmum Nancy.

In her first interview discussing the troubling storyline, Smith spoke to Inside Soap about how she felt after learning she'd be involved in the plot.

frankie osborne hollyoaks
Channel 4

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"[The show's bosses] called us in for a meeting and explained they'd wanted to do the story for a long time, but wanted to get it right and with the right people," she said.

"I felt so privileged that they trusted me and felt I was capable of doing the storyline; it was an amazing honour."

She continued: "The only reservation was being able to do it justice. I wanted to give victims of sibling sexual abuse a voice — it's something that isn't talked about so it was important that they were seen.

frankie and jj osborne hollyoaks
Channel 4

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"It's such a taboo subject that people don't even really want to think happens, but help is out there."

The actor went on to reveal that Frankie will start to stand up to JJ, saying: "She's becoming more sure of herself. We saw that in how she dealt with the recent Oscar situation.

"She is very protective of her younger siblings, and sometimes leans into JJ's narrative so she can protect the people around her, rather than herself. I think we'll start to see a stronger side to Frankie emerging."

frankie osbourne in hollyoaks, a girl in school uniform stands looking upset
Channel 4

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On whether Frankie will be able to confide in anyone about the abuse, Smith added: "I think she could tell Nancy anything, but there's a big moment coming up in the storyline to do with Frankie and Nancy's relationship that causes drama.

"I just hope they'll be able to get through it..."

Hollyoaks producers are working with the advocacy group SARSAS to shine a spotlight on the issue of sibling sexual abuse, which has traditionally been under-reported.

The soap has partnered with the charity to ensure the issue is portrayed realistically, while the cast involved have also been briefed on new research.

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

Hollyoaks has been working on Frankie's story with guidance from SARSAS, which provides specialist services and resources for those who have experienced any form of sexual violence.

More information is available from Rape Crisis England and Wales, who work towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct, on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’shelpline number is 08088 01 03 02.

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.

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