Hollyoaks showrunner Bryan Kirkwood QUITS the soap after eight years

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Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood has announced he’s quitting the soap.

After eight years in charge the executive producer, 44, admitted he feels it’s ‘the right’ to step down ahead of the soap’s 25th Anniversary this autumn.

Since taking over as executive producer in 2012, Bryan has been behind some of Hollyoaks most hard-hitting storylines, including Ste Hay’s far right radicalisation, Scott Drinkwell’s battle with depression and Ollie Morgan’s sexual abuse.

Departure: Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood has announced he's quitting the soap

Departure: Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood has announced he’s quitting the soap

In a statement Bryan said: ‘For many years I have had the privilege of running a soap opera with a fiercely loyal audience.

‘I passionately believe that soaps can help viewers start serious conversations about their lives and in recent years we have covered important topics within mental health, sexual consent, Far-Right radicalisation, male rape, sexual abuse and many issues other shows might look away from…

‘It has also been a joy to deliver the plot buster stories that ‘can only happen on Hollyoaks’, stories that give our viewers an entertaining escape into a heightened world.

He's off! The executive producer admitted he feels it's 'the right' to step down ahead of the soap's 25th Anniversary this autumn (pictured at the British Soap Awards last year)

He’s off! The executive producer admitted he feels it’s ‘the right’ to step down ahead of the soap’s 25th Anniversary this autumn (pictured at the British Soap Awards last year)

‘I’m incredibly proud of what we have achieved, and I want to thank the entire team. Their talent, warmth, loyalty and friendship are why I stayed so long.’

‘The 25th anniversary feels like an elegant time to hand the reins over to someone else but I’m confident that the beating heart of Hollyoaks – the people who make it – will keep the show around for another 25 years.’

Bryan will remain a part of Hollyoaks until the end of 2020, meaning his storylines will continue to feature until June 2021.

He's off! Bryan will remain a part of Hollyoaks until the end of 2020, meaning his storylines will continue to feature until June 2021 (pictured with Anna Passey and Nikki Sanderson in 2015)

He’s off! Bryan will remain a part of Hollyoaks until the end of 2020, meaning his storylines will continue to feature until June 2021 (pictured with Anna Passey and Nikki Sanderson in 2015)

During his tenure Bryan has also been lauded for his commitment to raising awareness of mental health and LGBTQ+ issues with a range of moving storylines.

Bryon first worked on Hollyoaks as its executive producer January 2006- December 2009, during which he introduced the iconic McQueen family, before returning in June 2012. 

Ian Katz, Channel 4 Director of Programmes, said: ‘Bryan has been the untiring creative force behind the extraordinary resurgence of Hollyoaks. He’s taken the show into new territory with some extraordinarily brave storylines and soap firsts and collected numerous awards.

‘I’m immensely grateful for his steering of the show safely back to screen next week and leaving it in top creative form and I wish him all the best for his next chapter.’

Bryan’s departure comes just days before Hollyoaks returns to screens on Monday, September 7 following a three-month break, after they were forced to suspend filming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent months Hollyoaks has also found itself embroiled in a so-called ‘race row,’ after star Rachel Adedeji accused the show of ‘behind-the-scenes’ racism.

The star took to her Twitter to say she doesn’t agree with Hollyoaks’ post addressing the movement, noting it wasn’t progressive after revealing she was aware of racial slurs and injustices happening on set. 

In June, it was reported that the cast were ‘at war’ following Rachel’s accusations, and claims that co-star Lysette Anthony is ‘actual trash’.   

Bosses were said to be reportedly having a ‘string of meetings’ as there was a ‘real divide’ between the cast.   

Hollyoaks returns on Monday, September 7 on Channel 4.

Exciting: Bryan's departure comes just days before Hollyoaks returns to screens on Monday, September 7 following a three-month break

Exciting: Bryan’s departure comes just days before Hollyoaks returns to screens on Monday, September 7 following a three-month break 

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