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You have emotional problems and a below-average IQ. I'm prescribing Hollyoaks.

Hollyoaks is a British soap that began in 1995, centered on the residents of Hollyoaks, a fictional area in Chester. The show is primarily aimed at young people, the cast being on average teenaged to mid-20s.

Hollyoaks has always been something of a joke amongst critics and viewers; it was mocked for the practice of casting attractive yet unconvincing actors, as well as some of its more outlandish storylines, or feeble dialogue. However, recently Hollyoaks has shown a notable rise in quality, producing several satisfying story arcs and interesting characters. It has even garnered critical attention in papers such as The Guardian, and at several award shows, and was praised for its portrayal of the gay relationship between John Paul and Craig.

It's also notable for having the greatest dissonance between the happiness of the theme song and the utter misery that ensues after it finishes.

Many viewers love Hollyoaks not despite its faults, but because of them. See So Bad It's Good.

Another amusing thing is that Channel 4 go down the "if you've been affected by the issues in the program call our hot-line" route. Given the plots of the series manning that hot-line must be the easiest job in the world. After all how many teenage-schoolgirls-being-blackmailed-by-their-birth-mother-into-stealing-their-own-baby-that-is-being-passed-off-as-your-sister's-child-over-the-fact-that-you-shot-the-baby's-father,-also-your-sister's-husband-at-their-wedding are there out there just waiting to phone in.


Tropes in this series include:


  • Aesop Amnesia: So, so, so many times.
    • Mercedes treated her husband like scum and repeatedly cheated on him, only to reconcile briefly before he performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save her from an explosion. She is genuinely distraught over his senseless death, but fast-foward a month later, she is now doing the vertical tango with both a father and son, has gotten engaged again... and doesn't seem to remember he even existed.
  • Affably Evil: Despite killing his wife and three young women, and tying to kill two more young women, Silas comes across as a very sweet, kindly older man.
  • Alpha Bitch: Several over the years
    • Ruby Button is becoming this.
    • Sinead O'Conner
    • Most of the McQueen girls come across like this, with the exception of Carmel and perhaps Theresa.
    • Maddie Morrison.
  • Attention Whore: Most of the female cast. And Darren.
  • The Baby Trap: Mercedes pretends to be pregnant in order to get her footballer boyfriend to marry her.
    • But I Can't Be Pregnant: And after a series of mishaps in which she almost gets found out, Mercedes learns that she is actually pregnant.
    • Who's Your Daddy?: ... and she doesn't know whether the baby is Riley's, or if it's his father's.
  • Back From the Dead: Warren was supposedly killed in yet another fire at The Loft, but after he returned, an episode showed just how he managed to escape. Despite the body found was clearly identified as being Warren
  • Big Beautiful Woman: A first for Hollyoaks with Kelly from Hollyoaks Later.
  • Better to Die Than Be Killed: Steph chooses to burn to death in a fire, rather than die slowly of cancer.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Steph remains gorgeous and healthy looking despite dying of terminal cancer.
  • Big Eater: Brendan Brady is seen eating in so many of his appearances, it's reaching Running Gag status.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The McQueens are this trope.
    • The Ashworths could also qualify. Suzanne ended up having twins with Darren, Hannah suffered from Anorexia, Rhys fell in love with his half sister and framed his little brother for drink driving, and Josh ended up with a ruined life because of what Rhys did to him.
    • The Costello's also apply. Carl has cheated on his wife twice, once with his son's girlfriend. Riley, also a famous footballer, is now getting married to said girlfriend, who is possibly carrying his father's child. Seth was tricked into believing he murdered a prostitute and almost killed himself over it, and his twin Jason is a Transsexual who was once his sister Jasmine.
    • It gets worse for the Costello's, their grandfather Silas is a serial killer who accidentally killed his daughter Heidi on Halloween.
  • Brainless Beauty: Carmel in spades.
  • British Accents: Hilariously, Hollyoaks tends to feature families who have different accents from one another.
    • Jasmine/Jason Costello has a Cockney accent, but his twin brother Seth has a strong Yorkshire accent.
      • Possibly justified because until recently, Jason was at a posh all girls school, away from the family. He could have picked the accent up there.
    • Cheryl and Brendan both have Irish accents, but Brendan is from ROI, and Cheryl is from Northern Ireland.
      • Explained in show by the fact they had different mothers.
    • Played straight everywhere else. For instance, the Savage family - father Dirk and eldest brother Dodger have very strong cockney accents, younger brother Will is well-spoken, and sister Liberty is clearly Northern.
  • Brother Chuck: Jasmine/Jason disappeared from the storyline (which was ongoing) without explanation fairly recently.
    • This is actually fairly common for Holly Oaks. A character will receive a lot of focus for a week or so, then suddenly disappear while other storylines take over, with little to no explanation.
    • Played straight with Spencer, Warren's brother. He moved away from the village, and it's unknown whether he even knows that his brother is actually still alive.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Rhys and his half sister Beth, who admittedly met and fell in love before discovering they were related.
  • Captain Ersatz / Expy: Unbelievably, this trope applies to places. Hollyoaks is a supposed expy of Widnes, Warrington or Runcorn.
  • Cassandra Truth: No-one will believe Lindsay about Silas being a murderer.
  • Chekhov's Gun: During a conversation with Silas, Theresa innocently mentions that she read that for someone to be classed as a Serial Killer, they need to have killed at least three people. Silas later kills again, bringing his total of murders in Hollyoaks to three. Silas has killed more than three people elsewhere, but the residents of Hollyoaks only know of two at that point.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Jacqui and Alek
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Surprisingly, Ruby Button has had shades of this towards Sinead O'Conner. She gets spiteful when Sinead and Esther are having fun together, and gets the latter into trouble over something that Ruby herself made her do.
    • Leanne takes this to the extreme.
    • Sinead herself is becoming this towards Bart and his friendship with Jason.
    • Lee is perhaps a male version of this towards Amy.
  • Cloudcuckoolander - Carmel, the female version of Hiro Nakamura from Heroes (well, in personality terms anyway, according to Fan Sites).
  • Crapsack World: Not as bad as other soaps. But still fairly nasty. The death rate in Hollyoaks village alone would put people off moving there, especially since it seems to be young adults most of the time.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Poor Sarah Barnes dies after her parachute failed to open. She's screaming as she plummets to the ground, and the camera only pulls away at the last minute. Makes matters worse by the fact it was her ex-girlfriend Lydia who tampered with it, even if it wasn't intended for Sarah. The circle of blood on the cornfield at the end just says it all.
    • Andy Holt ran into a sharpened pole after running away from Mel, who was getting her own back for all the rapes he had committed by giving him the same drug he'd given his victims.
    • Alistair Longford, India and Texas' elderly grandfather, dies after falling off a mountain. Though given he was on holiday with his young wife Cindy at the time, it's unsure of whether he just 'fell'..
    • Tina McQueen dies in an explosion set off by her psychotic half brother Niall. Not only is she the lone member of the family to die, she was one of the two Myra reluctantly asked to be spared (Niall demanded she could only save two).
    • Heidi Costello ends up strangled to death by her own father, Silas, in a case of mistaken identity.
  • Curse: Rae believes that her family is 'cursed' because her two older sisters both died before they were eighteen.
    • Appears to be tragically true as Rae is murdered by Silas not long after her nineteenth birthday.
  • Dawson Casting: several, including Saira Choudry in her early 20s playing 16-year-old Anita.
    • Dean Aspen plays Duncan, a character six years younger than him. He gained weight to make himself look younger, and has to shave daily.
    • Averted with the actress of Amber Sharpe, despite looking older than her character's twelve years, the actress is actually just a year older.
    • Partially averted with the casting of Anna Shaffer as Ruby Button. Anna was seventeen playing a fifteen-year-old who both looks and acts much older than she appears to be.
  • Dead Baby Comedy: However, Your Mileage May Vary on this one. The Jasmine storyline is what has caused opinion to turn this way. But soap sites are showing that public opinion has turned this way...
  • Disabled Love Interest: Hayley Ramsey and Pete Hamill are both in wheelchairs, and no less stunning than the rest of the cast.
    • Especially in universe; Josh and Rhys Ashworth are both attracted to Hayley, and Ruby has a crush on her Headmaster Pete.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After a short lived relationship that she wasn't really into, Ruby Button decides to punish Ricky for dumping her by text by planting cannabis in his school bag. She goes one step further by getting Sinead to tell the Headmaster she had seen a knife at school, thus making sure everyone's bags were searched.
    • Ruby strikes again when Nancy interrupts her study session with Pete; the headmaster she has an obvious crush on. Nancy was relying on a good reference from Pete to obtain her dream job, so Ruby steals his phone, and when the call comes, gives her a bad reference instead.
  • Doom Magnet: Tom Cunningham. To date; his parents died in a car accident, he set the house on fire, his baby niece died, his older brother & father figure Max died saving him from a car, and his sister-in-law and mother figure Steph suffered from terminal cervical cancer, before choosing to die painfully in a fire instead.
  • Domestic Abuse: A past storyline focused on Ste abusing his girlfriend Amy. He beat her, made her cut off her long hair, and lied about their daughter having cancer to get money from people.
    • The tables are now turned with Ste being beaten by Brendan, though Amy is quite sympathetic towards him, and tries to help.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Fletch & Sasha's slow descent into heroin addiction, complete with sleeping with creepy dealer Nige in exchange for smack.
  • Dumb Blonde: Carmel McQueen. Her cousin Theresa can also count at times.
  • Enfante Terrible: Holly Cunningham has shades of this, it isn't surprising given who her mother is.
    • Persephone Hart is a more straightforward example, she lies and bullies, and accuses Sarah Barnes of hitting her when she was just kindly telling her off.
  • Estranged Soap Family: Plenty of examples through the years. John-Paul didn't return to attend his sister's wedding, and Jem Costello hasn't been sighted despite the fact her step mother was murdered.
  • Estrogen Brigade Bait: Most of the male characters in the early days. In particular, Kurt Benson, Jambo Bolton, Lewis Richardson and Rob Hawthorn.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Warren Fox, surprisingly. When he got drunk with Justin Burton, and they began comparing their past crimes, Justin bragged about how he lied to the police about Becca Dean sleeping with him when he was 15. Warren immediately expressed disgust, which immediately escalated to outright anger when Justin feebly tried to defend his actions as just because Becca had dumped him.
    • Silas shows shades of this when he's about to strangle Theresa. It's revealed that her baby daughter Angel is there, and Silas backs off, despite being able to easily overpower the child.
  • Extreme Doormat: Oh, Esther, will you ever stand up for yourself against your 'friends'?
  • Face Heel Turn: Over the course of a year, Sam Owen went from a withdrawn law student previously falsely imprisoned on charges of arson, to a serial date rapist, before coming full circle & setting The Dog In The Pond on fire; killing himself & four others in the process.
  • Faking the Dead: Jack, aided by Darren, as a desperate last measure to get out of the debt he was in.
  • Funny Schizophrenia: Another criticism levelled at the show.
  • Hair of Gold: Blonde Carmel is a much nicer person than her siblings, most of whom are dark-haired. On the other hand, Michaela is also blonde, and is possibly the biggest bitch of the lot.
    • Things seem to have improved in the last few years, but there was a point about 5 or 6 years ago where literally every single female character was blonde - apart from the nerdy, uptight character who had dark hair.
    • However, unlike her other dark haired siblings, Michaela provided valuable support to her pregnant friend, to Josh during his failed exams, is in college, and possesses a steady income.
    • Esther Bloom is the only blond out of her trio of "friends", and she's a far kinder and sweeter person than the dark haired Ruby Button and Sinead O'Connor.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Jessica Fox previously played Enid Nightshade in the television series of The Worst Witch, and Brian Bovell previously played Jez in Gimme Gimme Gimme.
    • Jamie Lomas (Warren Fox) and Ricky Whittle (Calvin Valentine) both starred in Sky One's Dream Team before joining Hollyoaks.
    • Anna Shaffer (Ruby Button) is better known for playing Stalker with a Crush Romilda Vane in the Harry Potter series.
  • Hollywood Geek: Will is gorgeous despite the nerdy glasses and clothes.
  • Hollywood Healing: Darren not only came home from hospital the very next day after being shot in the stomach, but there was no mention of bedrest or even any form of pain relief.
    • Amy Barnes also recovered overnight after being in a car accident that left her unconscious. She was also pregnant at the time.
    • Nicely averted with Hannah's friend Melissa, who was a long suffering anorexia sufferer. She didn't get better.
    • The Costello family are massive culprits of this. To date Jason was hit by a car, Seth overdosed on steroids, and Heidi burned herself with scalding hot water, and they were all home within a couple of days.
  • Hospital Hottie: Lynsey Nolan. Lampshaded when she was asked to appear on a student radio show as an agony aunt, and later on a live webcast in a 'hot' nurse outfit.
  • Hot for Student: Schoolteacher Becca and the then 16-year-old Justin's relationship.
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: The character of Matt Musgrove, played by Kristian Ealey, immediately transferred to Hollyoaks after leaving Brookside (which ended shortly afterwards.)
  • Ill Girl: Steph Cunningham practically lives and breathes this trope after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.. Despite initially having some pretty convincing fainting spells, Steph looks far too healthy to be dying of cancer, with a full head of very thick hair and glowing skin. She's also promoted to martyr status, despite using her illness to get her own way.

 Steph: "But I'm dying of CANCER."

  • It's All About Me: Mercedes McQueen in spades. Because we are supposed to feel sorry for her, despite the fact she learnt her lesson on how her actions affect others, when despite being unfaithful to him and treating him badly, Malachy still willingly sacrificed himself to save her from an explosion. Mercedes then promptly seemed to forget him, got engaged a month later and then cheated on her fiancee, Riley with his dad. This is never indicated either to be a result of losing Malachy either, she seemingly just forgets him. When she has the baby and the truth of her infidelity to Riley comes out, she promptly complains that Riley is later wrong to show attraction to other women, despite the fact that she cheated on him and it was clearly her fault.
    • Jacqui McQueen. Do we even need to explain how much of a self-centred, arrogant, hypocritical, bitch she frequently shows herself to be?
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The 2011 Christmas episode with Doug and Steph
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jacqui McQueen comes across as a total bitch most of the time, but she does have her moments of kindness. She's the only one to take in Lindsay when the rest of the village had turned against her, she also took in a stray dog, and she attempted to help the homeless Phoebe despite the girl stealing off her. Jacqui also stands up for her family and friends if they need it.
  • Karma Houdini: So many of the characters.
    • Warren Fox, who's gleefully murdered several characters and gotten away with it, been involved in blackmail, supplying drugs, still somehow manages to woo half the women in the Village despite being an obvious sociopath, and even being tied up in a burning building that supposedly kills, merely slowed him down.
      • He goes one step further by making Seth think that he had murdered a prostitute, which made him try to commit suicide. All to get a single piece of information out of him.
    • Rhys Ashworth definitely qualifies. He and his younger brother are Josh are competing for the affections of a girl, so Rhys spikes Josh's drink, who is later arrested for getting involved in a collision with another car and injuring the people in it. Even his brother getting beaten up by various people and becoming a pariah, going to trial and getting nearly sent down, doesn't let Rhys admit the truth. It takes 6 months later when Josh has finished probation and has returned and their parents nearly splitting up from the pressure, before he finally fesses up... and is immediately forgiven for everything.
    • Ste. For some reason, his later storyline where Brendan seduces him, then beats him regularly, is supposed to make us feel sorry for him. Even though he himself was frequently domestically abusive to Amy, lied that her daughter had cancer to get money from everyone and has been known to be a drug dealer.
    • Theresa McQueen. After the truth comes out that not only did she sleep with Calvin, got pregnant, then shot him on his wedding day to Carmel, she is forgiven. Instead Carmel blames her sister Jacqui and throws her out of the house for covering it up and gladly lets Theresa stay under the same roof, helping look after the baby.
    • Gaz. He bullied Anita because of the colour of her skin and threw paint over her and filmed it on his mobile to send around the school. He and Lauren drove her to the point of bleaching her skin so she could look like everyone else. He then continued to threaten her, along with chasing her into the woods to potentially hurt her more seriously. And now he's back and apparently forgiven since Anita has left.
    • Lauren Valentine. She ruthlessly turned against Anita, her own best friend, because she dared to be friends with her boyfriend at the time, Newt. She not only teamed up with Gaz to bully her, she also made out that Anita was bulling her, getting her into trouble, and turning Newt against her. Lauren finally comes clean, Newt clearly wants her to suffer for what she did, only for Anita to say that it's okay.
    • Of the very worst (and arguably tasteless kind) it has emerged that Silas won't be tried let alone imprisoned for the murders he committed, merely institutionalised after being deemed clinically insane by the authorities.
  • Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: After Warren finds out that his fiancee Louise is planning to kill him, he hands her the intended murder weapon and tells her to go ahead if she really wants to. Louise actually does pull the trigger...only to find that Warren took the bullets out first. Naturally, he responds by killing her.
  • Kissing Cousins: Riley and Mitzeee.
  • Laxative Prank: India eats a pizza that Hayley has spiked with laxatives. She wins a contest for a car after an accident.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Jake Dean.
    • Also Lydia Hart, who ended up killing Sarah Barnes. Lydia's obsession with her spiralled out of control when she realised she and Zoe had a spark between them still, even if the latter didn't want to follow it through, and an attempt to kill Zoe by tampering with her parachute, led to her actually killing Sarah when their parachutes were mixed up.
  • Love Triangle: Several over the years
    • Lauren, Newt and Anita.
    • Sinead, Bart and Jason.
    • Bart, Sinead and Gaz.
    • Riley, Mercedes, Carl
    • Ethan, Theresa, Rae and Liberty.
  • May-December Romance: Maddie seems to think that this is the case when it comes to Jono dating Ruby. They're only a year apart in age, Ruby just happens to be in school still, and Jono is in the first year of Sixth Form.
  • Moral Guardians: Complaining about sexy appearances of the cast in the media.
    • While it has been rectified since, The Food Commission complained in 2007 that, on average, 18% of the scenes in Hollyoaks showed a character drinking alcohol. The worry was that it would send the message to the younger viewers that it was normal to drink so much alcohol. In more recent times, it's rare to see someone even finishing a drink.
    • There was a lot of fuss kicked up over Newt's attempted suicide storyline because the airing of it happened to coincide with the real life story of two teenage girls killing themselves in a very similar manner. Channel 4 defended themselves by stating that they couldn't pluck an episode directly out of a long running series, especially because the events leading up to and surrounding Newt's suicide attempt had been heavily promoted for weeks. They also mentioned that Hollyoaks has dealt with sensitive topics for a long time, and included a number at the end of the program for anyone who had been affected by the storyline.
    • Loretta was supposed to have a dark secret about her killing a girl when she was younger, along with a friend, who's appearance in the village brings her dark history to light. Despite Lorretta, her friend, and the deceased girl being around twelve at the time, and all the same age, Jamie Bulger's mother kicked up a fuss about it. While it's understandable that she would be upset, Hollyoaks is known for bringing such topics to light, and wouldn't have 'glamourised' what Loretta and her friend had done in the slightest. The storyline was poorly chopped out of the show, and Loretta left soon afterwards.
  • Ms. Fanservice and Estrogen Brigade Bait: Most of the cast. They do sexy calendars of both genders. Many of the ladies will feature in the lower end lads' mags.
    • Bronagh Waugh, avoids being in lads mags, perhaps due to lads' magazine editors' opinions on her looks. Same for Victoria Atkin, who plays Jason Costello. You won't see any of the onscreen mothers (With the exception of the likes of Cindy Cunningham and other younger mothers) doing them either.
    • Ruby Buttons operates on fanservice. It helps that she is played by the curvy Anna Shaffer.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The adverts for the huge fire at Il Gnosh in 2010 made out that a lot of people would end up dying. The only person to die was Steph, who chose to burn to death rather than die slowly of cancer.
    • The 2012 Valentines trailer also counts; it implies Darren will have to choose between Nancy and Cindy. This never happens.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted: Kris is bisexual, as is Ravi.
    • Unfortunately played straight (pun not intended) with Ste- the moment he got with Brendan the show started calling him gay, despite his previous relationship with Amy.
      • It isn't uncommon for gay people to have relationships with the opposite sex before coming out. Not at all. Things aren't that black-and-white.
    • Seems to be going this way with Doug Carter, who recently outed himself as gay, despite having no homosexual experimentation with men or the very person who caused these feelings, not even a kiss, to actually be sure if he was. Fairly certain that until then, that merely makes someone bi-curious.
      • Once again, stuff like this is not that black-and-white. You definitely do not need to kiss or have sex with someone to know you're gay. Most straight people are virgins when they realized they were attracted to the opposite sex. Yes, it is a little strange that Doug is completely gay rather than bisexual, but not for that reason.
    • Becomes amusingly hypocritical considering at the end of every episode, the announcer offers the Channel 4 website to help people with their sexuality. One wonders if the Hollyoaks writers should perhaps consider reading it as well?
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Before she joined the show as Mitzeee, Rachel Shenton was noted in various articles for her resemblance to Cheryl Cole. A recent episode lampshaded this by having Brendan disguising her as Cheryl to make Heat magazine think that Chez Chez was a hot spot for celebrities.
  • Not Quite Dead: Andy, after falling off a cliff into water. Also Clare, in exactly the same circumstances. And of course, Niall following the church explosion because they Never Found the Body.
    • It's basically always safe to assume in Hollyoaks that if there's no body, they're not dead.
    • Subverted with Warren Fox. Ash Roy tricked Warren's mentally handicapped foster brother Spencer into believing that Warren was still alive by texting him from Warren's mobile phone. Ash tried to convince Spencer that 'Warren' wanted him to sell The Loft to him.
      • Later played straight as Warren actually does return. He manages to survive the fire, and uses a random passer by to take the place of his body.
  • Oireland: Cheryl. Even though she's blonde, the trope still applies.
  • The Other Darrin: The actress playing Clare was replaced early in her run.
  • Parental Abandonment: Niall's abandonment by his birth mother Myra McQueen as a baby is the driving force for his murderous actions.
    • Sinead and Finn O'Connor were abandoned by their birth mother Morag because she had extreme postnatal depression with Finn.
  • Professional Gambler: Darren, circa 2007. Subverted since.
  • Perky Goth: Newt.
    • Newt's version of Rae.
  • Pimped-Out Dress / Fairytale Wedding Dress: Mercedes' gothic wedding dress that was used in the promotional trailers for her and Riley's wedding.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Several
    • Max and OB
    • Darren Osbourne
    • Duncan Button
    • Melody Langford turned up after her youngest daughter's body was found, causing a severe moodwhiplash when she was played for comic relief in such a sombre storyline.
  • Product Placement: Well, for any Vauxhall vehicles anyway, these seem incredibly common.
    • Now that Product Placement is allowed on British Television, Hollyoaks has jumped on board. So far we've seen;
      • Adidas
      • Heat Magazine
      • Cheryl Cole's single was overplayed during a few episodes, and an entire subplot was based on Mitzeee looking like her.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: You know if a new character will be a regular if they're put into the opening titles.
  • Psycho Lesbian: Lydia.
  • Pun-Based Title: Some of the shops and businesses around Hollyoaks
    • Washed Up a laundrette owned by Tony Hutchinson.
    • Tan and Tumble Ash Roy bought Washed Up from Tony, and added the option to have a spray tan while you waited.
    • Cincerity, a clothing boutique ran by Cindy, that was previously Tan and Tumble.
    • Il Gnosh an Italian restaurant owned (again) by Tony until it got burned down.
    • Look Sharpe a day spa made from a renovated Il Gnosh. Also named for Tony's girlfriend at the time, Gabby Sharpe.
    • Cinergy the above day spa was taken over by Cindy, and renamed.
    • MOBS is a juice bar in the centre of the village that was originally ran by Max and OB. While it was inherited by Steph Cunningham after Max died, she didn't change the name.
      • Later renamed to MOOBS after Steph died and Darren and Duncan took over. While it stands for 'Memories Of Our Beloved Steph', 'Moobs' is also a nickname Darren uses for Duncan, as he is overweight.
    • Got It Taped was a video store that was owned by... Tony Hutchinson.
  • Put on a Bus: Several. Literally, for some characters. Basically if they don't get killed off, they end up leaving the village for some reason or another.
  • Rape as Drama: Whether it actually happened or not (since the show never explicitly makes it clear), Jacqui getting raped by Gilly (or accusing him of such) is played for every tiny little bit of drama the show could get, to the point of causing Arc Fatigue to some viewers.
    • The fact that she kept on and on accusing him, even after he'd been found Not Guilty by a court of law, makes rather more sense now it's been revealed that he did rape her after all.
      • Although by retconning the flashbacks, some viewers felt it was a clear Ass Pull to milk it for more drama.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Surprisingly averted the majority of the time, most actors leave to try and go onto something better.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic
  • Record Needle Scratch: The follow exchange between Darren and Frankie is set to pretty music.

 Darren: Suzanne is pregnant.

Frankie: Aww!

Darren: They're twins

Frankie: Oh that's nice..

Darren: They're mine. *Record Needle Scratch*

  • Recurring Riff: Hollyoaks has a short guitar riff at the start and the end of an episode.
  • Recycled Plot: The Loft has been set on fire so many times, it's approaching Running Gag status; The Dog In The Pond, Il Gnosh and Hollyoaks Community College have all been set on fire aswell. At some point, insurance companies are just going to stop providing the residents of Hollyoaks with insurance in the event of fire.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Niall, realizing all he's done to hurt Steph, the woman he supposedly loves, steps off a cliff. (Unlike previous cliff drops on Hollyoaks, this did actually kill him)
  • Revenge by Proxy: To get back at Myra for abandoning him as a child, Niall takes his rage out on various members of the McQueen family; including injecting Michaela with heroin, pushing a pregnant Tina down the stairs, attacking Nana, trying to break Carmel and Calvin up, and attempting to drug and kill John Paul. Eventually, he kidnaps the entire McQueen family and forces Myra to choose which two of her six children will be allowed to live.
  • Riding Into the Sunset: John Paul and Craig get a "Sunset Ending."
  • Rule of Three: Most Hollyoaks episodes start with three short scenarios, set to music, of three characters following a similar scenario. For example it might show three of them waking up in different ways.
  • Sadist Show: In more recent times, going this way. Particularly over the controversial Jasmine/Jason storyline (which in itself, has been accused of being out of sync with real life, especially by fans.
  • Serial Killer: Silas, who comes across as a lovely old man has killed his own wife, India and Jenny to date. His motive was revealed to be because his wife was cheating on him with a man across the street. He pushed her down the stairs, and then choked her to death. He now targets young girls who he sees as sexually promiscuous, by befriending them online and then asking to meet up. There he lures them away, and chokes them to death.
    • Silas struck again in Hollyoaks Later and after trying to kill Theresa, he backed off on seeing that she was now settled with Will. Rae, who had a crush on Will and ended up getting him and Theresa together, unfortunately decides to have a rant about how all men are scum, and she's just going to sleep around. Silas strangles her to death, just feet away from where Theresa and Will are kissing.
  • Shipper on Deck: Poor Rae was a very tragic example of this. She had a Matchmaker Crush on Will, but wanted to be a good friend to Theresa. Knowing they both had feelings for one another but weren't getting anywhere, she kept telling Theresa to give Will another chance, and gave Will a makeover to try and impress Theresa. She eventually succeeded in getting them together, but as noted above, it indirectly led to her murder, and Will and Theresa kissing is the last thing she sees before she dies.
  • Silent Credits: Every time the show ends on a death of a major character. Even if the character turns out to be Not Quite Dead.
  • Soapland Christmas: Well, it is Hollyoaks, after all.
  • Space Whale Aesop: The entire point of the Bart/Sinead runaway storyline!
  • Spin-Off: There's been a series of late night spinoffs that tend to contain more mature material than the regular series due to being aired post-watershed.
    • Hollyoaks: Movin' On
    • Hollyoaks: Let Loose
    • Hollyoaks: In the City
    • Hollyoaks Later has had three mini series so far, each spanning five hour long episodes over a week.
  • Split Personality: Newt/Eli
    • Newt is schizophrenic, and Eli is the result of that.
    • Newt also had a third 'personality' in the form of Rae. After not taking his medication and running away from home, Newt mugged an old lady, and saw a picture of her granddaughter in her handbag, who was Rae. Newt then 'saw' her as a goth, like him, and spent a couple of days with her. It ended up with Newt attempting suicide with her, only to be saved at the last minute. After being told Rae was a figment of his imagination, it was a shock for poor Newt when he met the real Rae, who was very different from how he had imagined.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Mitzeee is actually a really sweet and kind person behind the shallow and ditzy front she puts up. She's among the first people to accept Jasmine becoming Jason, and comforts the Costellos when Heidi is killed.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: The McQueen family. One of their members is usually mixed up in one of the main storylines, and that tends to drag in the entire family.
  • Standardized Sitcom Housing: While most characters' homes/accomodation appears appropriately-sized, the McQueens' house presumably has a variable number of bedrooms/sleeping areas, apparently dependent upon which family members are forced to return to the nest.
    • YMMV on this one. It's shown that several of the McQueens' girls are shown to share a room when they're back at home, up to three at a time.
  • The Stinger: Every single episode.
  • Straight Gay: Brandon, Ste, probably more.
  • Taking You with Me: Silas is dying, which is a huge factor in him trying to add more murders to his list.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Amy Barnes (Twice) and Cindy Cunningham.
    • Also Theresa McQueen.
    • And now 12 year old Amber Sharpe is also pregnant. Sadly, Truth in Television, these days, proving this is a Justified Trope.
      • However Amber has now left the show and there's been no word from her since.
    • While not shown on screen, Myra McQueen was only fourteen when she gave birth to Niall. A year later she gave birth to Jacqui, and a only a year after that she gave birth to Mercedes.
  • The Cast Showoff: Abi Phillips was asked to join the cast after penning a song called 'Missing You' for her favourite character, Steph. It was used during her final scene. As an amazing singer, her character Liberty gets the opportunity to sing in show. Unfortunately it's clear that the Hollyoaks bosses only hired her for her singing.
  • Transsexual: Jasmine Costello has a male alter ego in the form of Jason.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jenny, who meets up with an older man she's met online in order to drug and then steal from him. Too bad he's got his own agenda..
    • Tilly ends up trapped inside a cupboard while the college is on fire. She calls Maddie for help on her phone, but she's not picking up. So instead of calling the emergency services when smoke starts to come in under the door, Tilly instead decides to try and climb out of the very high window, and ends up knocking herself out. Take note that Tilly's supposed to be pretty intelligent.
  • Troubled but Cute: Ste, to many, many fans.
  • Tsundere: Most of the female cast, to some extent, but specifically Jacqui and Mercedes McQueen. Cheryl, however, is the sole exception to this.
  • Victim of the Week: So far, every series of the spinoff Hollyoaks Later has had a member of the cast die.
    • Series one had Niall Rafferty dying after falling off a cliff.
    • Series two had Sarah Barnes dying after her on and off girlfriend Lydia tampered with her parachute.
    • Series three had Nathan McAllister being pushed off a rooftop and landing in an oil tank. When it was drained, he was found impaled on a pipe.
    • Series four had spoiler: Rae being strangled by Silas.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Nancy and Darren.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Kris
  • Your Cheating Heart: Ethan began seeing Theresa behind his fiancée Liberty's back. They were found out, and Theresa and Liberty vowed to never let a man come between them again. Then Ethan starts seeing them both at the same time, and has to make up elaborate excuses to stop them from knowing about one another. Then he starts going out with Rae as well, which is when they finally figure out what's going on. All three then get their revenge.
    • Mercedes could be the queen of this trope. While going out with Malachy, she slept with his brother Kris, and she also slept with a random stranger before deciding to marry Malachy. While married to him, Mercedes then sleeps with Calvin, who is engaged to her own sister Carmel. After Malachy dies, Mercedes swiftly moves on to Riley, and then sleeps with both him and his father. She also kisses yet another ex while pregnant and on her honeymoon.
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