Hollyoaks job cuts branded "devastating" as union speaks out

The UK's entertainment union has commented on Channel 4's decision to cut down Hollyoaks to three episodes a week, resulting in up to 135 jobs being on the line.

On Thursday (February 29), the network announced the soap will undergo a rescheduling that will see the weekly episodes going from five to three when the change is implemented later this year.

A consultation period is currently underway, and as much as a third of the programme's current staff could be affected.

Speaking about the news, Philippa Childs, the head of the Broadcasting, Entertainment, Communications and Theatre Union (Bectu), called it "devastating".

yazz hollyoaks goodbye
Lime Pictures

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"This is absolutely devastating news for everyone concerned, for the region and for the wider UK TV industry," Childs said in a statement via the union's website.

"We will do everything we can to support our affected members during this incredibly difficult time."

Childs also branded the news as "a huge loss" for the entertainment sector, praising Hollyoaks for employing talent in the north-west of England where the show is filmed.

kitty draper in hollyoaks
Lime Pictures

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"For decades Hollyoaks has entertained generations and it is the hardworking and talented crew who brought the iconic storylines to life," the message continued.

"It has also provided brilliant employment opportunities and skills development for film and TV workers in the north west, and has served as an incubator of talent for the entire industry. Today's announcement is a huge loss for the whole sector."

Urging the UK Government to intervene to support the wider industry, Childs added that the announcement was a "sobering reminder" of difficult times in the sector, concluding: "All is not well in the UK TV industry and urgent government intervention and industry collaboration is needed."

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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