Hollyoaks - TV review

Much like Pot Noodles, Doc Martens and bad hair, Hollyoaks is a staple of the student lifestyle.

Much like Pot Noodles, Doc Martens and bad hair, Hollyoaks is a staple of the student lifestyle.

And, like the aforementioned essentials, it also has a very definite age-by date.

The second the clock strikes 12 on your 23rd birthday, you are officially too old for Hollyoaks. It's some weird Cinderella-style curse.

You are no longer able to sit there transfixed for half an hour by the lives and loves of the country's prettiest teenagers, who inexplicably all live in the same Cheshire village with not a zit, inch of fat nor concerned parent in sight.

Yep, the minute you've outgrown the likes of Cindy, Mercedes and The Dog In The Pond, you are hit in the face by the mind-numbing absurdity of it all.

And don't even bother with the Sunday morning two-and-a-half-hour marathon catch-up – your head will explode.

It's sad really, how one minute you can go from being totally enthralled by the numerous love triangles and peer pressure dilemmas to rolling your eyes and tutting at the length of Jacqui McQueen's hemline. But hey, this is Hollyoaks, and it waits for no man.

And so, after five years in the wilderness, I last night returned to the village I once held so dear. Had anything changed in Hollyoaks? Erm, no.

Sure, a new wave of cookie-cutter cuties had moved in but the storylines were exactly the same: geek tries to date hot girl, closeted gay guy struggles with his sexuality and teenager gives in to peer pressure and smokes drugs.

Just say no kids. No I mean it, just say no to Hollyoaks.

Despite being made for the yoof of today, it is nothing but lazy stereotypes and naff clichés.

While it will never be able to compete with the likes of the mighty Coronation Street and EastEnders, it at least used to have some decent characters. Jambo, Kurt and Luke were genuinely memorable characters who still hold a place in the heart of many a late-twentysomething.

These days, it is a sea of blondes caked in make-up who do nothing but gossip and bicker. And that's just the boys.

Viewers have been showing their frustration by voting with their remote controls. Viewing figures have dropped.

The show does not even feature in the top 30 of Channel 4's most-watched shows, beaten by the likes of Deal or No Deal and repeats of Come Dine With Me. At its height, it was watched by four million – now it is well below one million.

So if you're looking for grit and an ounce of realism these days, try Skins.

Want some escapism? Tune into Misfits.

There are a number of youth-orientated shows out there at the moment with real clout and quality.

But if common room bickering, false eyelashes and 26-year-old teenagers are more your bag, then stick with Hollyoaks.

You'll soon grow out of it. Trust me.

Elizabeth Joyce

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