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Hollyoaks In Real Life returns for season two

Zan Moon and Nikki Sanderson, courtesy Lime Pictures

Hollyoaks In Real Life ( IRL) is back, looking at the real-life experiences that mirror or have shaped the social issues within the narrative of the flagship Channel 4 continuing drama.

Hollyoaks IRL: Series 2 opened at 5pm today (Wednesday January 18) with the story of activist, Zan Moon, who was sexually harassed on the London Underground and has campaigned for increased CCTV cameras on transport to keep women safe. The episode is titled Hollyoaks IRL: Attacked and Ignored.

Zan and her girlfriend were verbally abused by a man on a packed carriage, using intimidating sexual language. Unchallenged by commuters they were forced to flee. Sadly, Zan, already had first-hand experience of abuse against women, having begun a campaign about the abuse she and her peers suffered at school.

She wrote an open letter to schools across the country, with 14 pages of testimonies from female students at the schools, resulting in a meeting with the Department of Education.

Echoes of Zan’s experiences featured in Hollyoaks’ ‘Long Walk Home’ episode, which follows the character, Maxine Minniver as she tries to make her way home safely from a night out after becoming separated from her friends.

Maxine (played by Nikki Sanderson) is subjected to cat-calling, intimidation and later is sexually assaulted and attacked. Sharing her real-life experience in Hollyoaks IRL, Zan meets Sanderson and describes how her assailant was never caught and the effect it has had on her life.

Zan tells the actor: “A basic human right is safety and we are being denied that. It’s a matter of life or death and that’s how important it is to me.”

Matt Risley, MD of 4Studio added: “Amplifying fan conversation online is a huge part of 4Studio’s strategy, and Hollyoaks IRL is the perfect example of how to do that in a way that’s engaging for existing and new fans of Hollyoaks alike. Season 2 helps give a voice to our audiences’ most personal stories in the emotive, affecting way that viewers really responded to from the first.”

The first series of Hollyoaks IRL, which explored depression and suicide, county lines child exploitation, disability, eating disorders and conversion therapy, was nominated for a BAFTA TV award in the Short Form Programme category.

It also won an RTS North West award for Best in Digital Creativity, was named a Webbys Honouree and was awarded a Silver Lovie in Social: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.4Studio is Channel 4’s social first content and distribution powerhouse, which produces and partners with creators from across the UK to entertain young people with relevant content on their favourite social platforms.

Hollyoaks IRL: Series 2 can be watched from 5pm, Wednesday January 18 on Hollyoaks’ YouTube, Facebook and TikTok channels.

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