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Final episode of Hollyoaks IRL meets cancer survivor and influencer Shell Rowe

Niamh Blackwood and Shell Rowe

Tonight’s final installment of Hollyoaks IRL features the show’s star Niamh Blackwell in conversation with cancer survivor and TikTok influencer Shell Rowe.

The week day before she was set to move to California, Rowe received her shattering diagnosis, after her girlfriend noticed a lump on her throat.

Previous episodes of season two of the BAFTA nominated docuseries Hollyoaks have discussed the parallels seen in the drama’s recent storylines and real-life experiences involving women’s safety, alcoholism, incels and knife crime.

The fifth episode, which will be available at 5pm today (Wednesday February,15) on Hollyoaks’s social media platforms, sees Hollyoaks cast member Niamh Blackshaw discussing teenage cancer with online influencer Shell Rowe, who is currently in remission.

Niamh plays the character of Juliet, who, in Hollyoaks, has recently been given the life-changing news that she has an aggressive form of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. This is something that, in real life, Shell experienced, getting the shock diagnosis during her second year of university, “Everything I knew just ended.”

The women discuss the importance of having a support system around during treatment. This is something Juliet found hard to accept at the beginning of her cancer journey on Hollyoaks, instead opting to push away her friends and family. Shell opens up to Niamh about how valuable her girlfriend and families support has been throughout it all. “My girlfriend Hannah has been absolutely fantastic; everyone always asks me actually how I stay positive, and I always say it’s because of Hannah.”

Living with grade four cancer and having to undergo a range of treatments saw Shell in high levels of pain and in hospital receiving radiotherapy on her 21st birthday. Intent on making sure Shell still had a quality of life throughout this, and wanting to celebrate the milestone, her girlfriend, Hannah turned their garden into a fair ground.

“She was always doing things for me to make me smile or surprising me.”

Through the process along with making vlogs documenting the reality of living with cancer and going through various treatments, a TikTok, inspired by her dad, led Shell to receive over a million likes and gaining masses of views and followers, including Niamh herself prior to collecting the storyline. “It was so strange when I found out you were helping with the story, I was like I recognise that name, where do I recognise that name from? And I’d been watching your TikToks for ages.”

Wanting to give back to Teenage Cancer Trust, the charity that’s supported her through her ordeal, the growing influencer decided to use the videos to help encourage people to donate to the charity and raise awareness of the huge challenges facing young people with cancer.

Shell, who has been in remission for 10 months, emphasises the importance of shows such as Hollyoaks in highlighting hard hitting issues like teenage cancer in an authentic and honest way, “Hollyoaks got in contact with me via Teenage Cancer Trust, which has been helping to advise their scriptwriters. With their storylines they try and speak to people to be as well informed as possible, which I think is fantastic, because we need that representation on screen and it’s so important to get it right.”

“Because it’ll make a huge impact, people seeing that storyline, you know maybe people will be able to spot the symptoms earlier, it really is fantastic.”According to new research from Teenage Cancer Trust less than half of 18-24-year-olds can spot any of the main signs and symptoms of cancer in young people, and the charity are urging people to educate themselves by visiting

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