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Hollyoaks goes for one-off X-rated episode.

Male rape and on-screen nudity are to feature in a one-off late night episode of youth soap Hollyoaks.

The Channel 4 series, aimed at teenagers and young adults, will broadcast an hour-long post-watershed instalment focusing on "human sexuality" next month.

Among its main story strands will be a first-time sexual encounter, an examination of sex in a long-term relationship and the violent rape of a regular male character by a bully.

While the physical attack on Luke Morgan, played by actor Gary Lucy, will not be shown on screen, the immediate lead-up to it will.

The 11pm special will show a shaken Luke taking a shower after his ordeal - and younger viewers watching the next day's regular early evening episode will be left in little doubt about what he has endured.

Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond yesterday defended the episode, saying it aimed to tackle one of the last great social taboos responsibly.

Criticising the recent "dumbing-down" of TV in the wake of the setting up of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, he said he wanted to put difficult topics on the "social agenda".

"Again we've picked up the stone and said, `look what's underneath'," he said.

"This is what I wanted to do as a storyteller, in the same way that Alan Bleasdale and Willy Russell want to write about certain things.

"The late night episode of Hollyoaks, as we've done with Brookside, allows us to go a bit further than we can at 6.30."

Redmond argued that tackling tough issues, such as rape and domestic violence, often helped people campaigning on those issues gain "a more sympathetic hearing".

He denied the show's producers were being irresponsible by making an "adult" episode which could excite younger viewers' curiosity - saying it was up to parents to make sure their children did not watch it.

"Programme-makers can only do so much," he said.

The Hollyoaks late night special goes out at 11pm on March 15.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 1, 2000
Words:323
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