Set in the fictional village Hollyoaks in nearby Chester, this new soap for Channel 4 aimed to deliver the same level of hard-hitting drama, with a glossier veneer; its primary aim was to reach a younger but equally loyal audience.

Most of the characters have always been between the ages of 16 and 35.

There were seven key characters when the soap first aired: Jambo Bolton; Dawn Cunningham; Kurt Benson; Natasha Andersen; Louise Taylor; Maddie Parker and Tony Hutchinson.

Just one of them now remains – Tony – who has been through numerous marriages and affairs, and health scares!

Coming from the brain of Phil Redmond, Hollyoaks has always been strong on covering issues-led stories, often breaking taboos.

This means, alongside the usual teen angst and coming of age stuff you’d expect – sex and relationships; drink and drugs; parental woes – the soap tackles subjects that are raising awareness.

It was the first serial drama to cover male rape, when teenager Luke Morgan was raped in 2000; his on-screen girlfriend Mandy Richardson was sexually abused by her own father just ahead of this plot.

It also delved into self-harming and eating disorders before the other soaps trained their eyes on issues affecting many but at the time not talked about.

In 2014 it won the Best Soap at the British Soap Awards, proving it was well and truly not some young pretender to its soap-sudded rivals on BBC One and ITV.

The soap has made household names of Gemma Atkinson, Stephanie Davies, Jennifer Metcalfe, Jeremy Edwards and Ricky Whittle.

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