Channel 4 to put Hollyoaks episodes on YouTube for first time

Hollyoaks cast
The show won best soap at the Inside Soap Awards in 2019

Channel 4 is shaking up how it broadcasts its long-running soap Hollyoaks, by expanding onto YouTube while dropping its weekday episodes from the terrestrial channel.

The broadcaster announced last year it would take a streaming-first approach with the show, which is aimed at younger audiences.

Episodes will be available to stream the day before they're broadcast on E4.

They will also go on YouTube for the first time - a week after streaming.

Sir Phil Redmond
Hollyoaks was created by Sir Phil Redmond, who also made Brookside

Meanwhile the Sunday omnibus edition will still be broadcast on Channel 4.

In 2022, Hollyoaks became the first UK soap to show its episodes on a streaming service ahead of the television broadcast.

The show, which is set in Chester, is aimed at younger audiences and has a young demographic.

The new schedule for Hollyoaks begins on 25 September, accompanied by some new storylines including a one-hour special where "viewers will see the love triangle between Felix, his girlfriend Mercedes and best friend Warren reach an explosive turning point".

The broadcaster said it is "adopting a simpler and more relevant digital-focused drop pattern to meet how young audiences find and watch content".

It added: "In 2023, 64% of viewers have watched the soap via streaming or [youth channel] E4, resulting in 556 million minutes of the show being streamed in the first half of the year".

Channel 4's chief content officer Ian Katz said: "Hollyoaks has always been the youngest and most innovative soap, so it's fitting that it should be the first to embrace the changes in the behaviour of younger viewers and switch to a genuinely digital-led release pattern."

The broadcaster said the show will carry on with its focus on "digital content that amplifies what occurs on screen", including YouTube's Hollyoaks Saved My Life (Hollyoaks IRL), which was nominated for a Bafta for best short-form programme last year.

The programme tells the stories of real people affected by the show, including themes around mental health, knife crime, violence against women and conversion therapy.