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Rise and rise of Hollyoaks.

HOLLYOAKS' ratings have grown steadily since it was a seed in the mind of Brookside producer Phil Redmond in early 1995.

Once considered a teen phenomenon, the Sunday morning omnibus edition has drawn in red-eyed twentysomethings recovering from a night out and ratings have recently nudged the five million mark - fast approaching those of its Scouse sister show.

In a further bid to attract viewers the show's producers have recently broached the controversial topic of male rape, the victim being the sullen-faced but loveable Luke, boyfriend of the whiny, but strangely also rather loveable Mandy.

A lot has changed since it was Tony, Jambo, Dawn and Kurt who loved, lived and then ... um, died, but lots of gritty drama and fast-moving plotlines have ensured a solid fan base has stayed faithful.

Only Tony (Nick Pickard) remains from the original cast, having survived endless turmoil in his business matters and love life. Who remembers when he was jilted at the altar by the annoying Julie Matthews?

Favourites have to be the saucy Jude Cunningham, who had Lewis well and truly wrapped around her taloned finger and Jude's sickly- sweet sister Dawn, whose untimely death caused much distress, turning Jambo (Will Mellor) into a bit of a crackpot.

New blood in the shape of student gang Geri, Nicki, Alex et al is adding zest while, in recent months, the Morgans and the Patricks have taken over, with one member of each clan (Zara Morgan and Sol Patrick) carrying on where good old Jude left off and causing no end of trouble.

Storylines ahead include love problems for Anna (Lisa Kay) and Sam (Tim Downie) and deception between Ruth and Lewis (Terri Dwyer and Ben Hull). Never a dull moment ...
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 18, 2000
Previous Article:Hooray for Hollyoaks; One's sexy and one's a bit mad - meet Dannielle Brent and Natalie Casey, the girls who make TV's hottest soap tick.
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