Where are the original cast of Hollyoaks now? From Strictly to Doctor Who and quitting fame to be a teacher, a look at the stars’ lives as the show is AXED from Channel 4
Hollyoaks appeared on screens for the very first time nearly 30 years ago in 1995, and has gone on to launch the careers of a whole host of actors.
The soap opera launched on Channel 4 with just one episode a week and has gone on to have a hugely successful 28-year run.
However, it was announced this week that Channel 4 will stop airing individual Hollyoaks episodes for the first time, as they will be moved to sister channel E4.
The move is part of a digital strategy to freshen up viewing experiences and the new schedule pattern will come into force on September 25.
The weekly omnibus will continue to be broadcast on Channel 4 as individual episodes go out on E4, marking a huge scheduling change for the soap opera.
As the show’s individual episodes are axed from Channel 4, MailOnline takes a look at where the original 1995 cast of Hollyoaks are now.
Will Mellor first appeared on Hollyoaks when he was just 19 years old, starring as James Bolton – better known on the show as Jambo.
The actor, now 47, starred on the soap opera for three years before moving on to star in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps in 2001.
He has since carved out a hugely successful acting career, securing holes in soap operas Casualty and EastEnders, as well as starring in Broadchurch and Line Of Duty.
Will also joined Coronation Street in March 2021 as drugs gangster Harvey Gaskell and appeared on the ITV soap opera until December 2022.
He also achieved huge acclaim when he appeared on Strictly Come Dancing last year, where he was paired up with Nancy Xu.
Will won a huge fanbase as he repeatedly topped the leaderboard during the series, but narrowly missed out on a place in the final as he was the 11th star to go home.
Despite his huge success on Strictly, Will told at the time how he has no plans to do another reality TV show.
He told The Sun: ‘This is it for me. If you’re going to do one do the biggest one and I’m glad I’ve learnt a skill every week.
‘I couldn’t sit on a show just waiting to be voted out, I’d rather at least learn a skill and put my hand to something and really get my teeth into it.
‘I’m enjoying every minute of it and I don’t want to just be in a popularity competition, this will be it for me, I think.’
In his personal life, Will married his wife Michelle McSween back in 2007 and they have since welcomed two children together – son Jayden and daughter Renee.
Nick Pickard is the only original Hollyoaks cast member to still hold a role on the soap opera.
He first portrayed Tony Hutchinson on the show’s debut episode in 1995 and has held down the role for an impressive 28 years.
He remains to be the longest-serving cast member on the show and in 2017, he won the British Soap Award for Outstanding Achievement.
Nick, now 48, has had a tumultuous time on the soap opera over the past three decades, with his character surviving near-death experiences and a serial killer, among other gripping storylines.
Nick previously told how he originally only signed up for 26 episodes on the soap opera, but ended up staying much longer than he’d planned.
He told Digital Spy in 2013: ‘I really hope Hollyoaks goes on for as long as it can. I love the show and love the people more than anything – they’re like my family.’
Nick was in a relationship with his former Hollyoaks co-star Joanna Taylor, who played Geri Hudson, back in 2001, but they went their separate ways a year later.
Joanna went on to marry Match of the Day pundit Danny Murphy in 2004, and they were married for 13 years until their split in 2017.
Yasmin Bannerman portrayed Maddie Parker, who ran local restaurant in the fictional Chester village.
She was a minor character on the show for two years until a gripping storyline saw her character’s ex Michael hold her hostage in 1997.
Yasmin, now 51, left the soap opera in 1997 and has gone on to star in TV show Cold Feet as well as hit films Maybe Baby and Killing Me Softly.
She also appeared as a regular on police drama Merseybeat and made an appearance on Doctor Who as Jabe in a one-off episode in 2005.
She went on to secure a role in spin-off show Torchwood as Kathy Swanson in the episode They Keep Killing Suzie, and continued working with the sci-fi series.
Since appearing in Casualty in 2009, Yasmin appears to have taken a step back from the spotlight and has no more acting credits.
Jeremy Edwards portrayed Kurt Benson in Hollyoaks for three years until he left the Channel 4 drama in 1999.
He featured in many storylines in the soap including a turbulent love life as well as a toxic rivalry with notorious villain Rob Hawthorne, Warren Derosa.
The character was accused of attempted murder for pushing Spike, Tom Vaughan, from scaffolding, but went on to marry his teenage love Ruth Osborne, played by Terri Dwyer.
However he went on to have an affair with Katie Patrick, Natasha Symms, which forced Kurt and Ruth to separate and he left the soap on a motorbike in 1999.
Kurt then tragically died in a jet-ski accident, but 20 years on, it was revealed that all was not as it seemed.
In 2020, Jeremy dropped the bombshell that Kurt hadn’t actually died as viewers had been led to believe but had actually been on the run for many years.
Later that year, his character Kurt made a dramatic return on his signature motorbike to the village after leaving the soap 21 years previously.
Marking Hollyoaks 25th anniversary, his return left his friend Tony Hutchinson reeling in shock after believing he had died in the jet ski accident.
It was thought that it might lead to a more permanent return, as he was due to feature for up to a year, but Covid impacted filming and his comeback was only temporary.
Elsewhere in his showbiz career, Jeremy competed on the ITV series The X Factor: Celebrity in 2019 as part of a duo with Brendan Cole but was eliminated in the auditions stage.
He is also known for finishing fourth in the third series of Celebrity Big Brother and his role as Danny Shaughessy, a student nurse in Holby City.
Jeremy was engaged to Rachel Stevens of S Club 7 in 2002 before breaking up the year after and eventually meeting his now wife Lydia Metz, who he married in 2009.
Last year, Jeremy told how he would be quitting the spotlight for good and lifted the lid on his reasons for leaving fame behind him earlier this month.
Jeremy decided to part ways with his acting agent and he now couldn’t be happier living a life out of the spotlight working as a drama teacher.
‘When Rishi Sunak was chancellor in lockdown he was saying that actor’s should look at other skills they could do. I agreed with him. I think that people don’t use their transferable skills enough,’ Jeremy told The Sun.
‘During Covid the simple fact was there was no work and now there is an actor’s strike in America. There are so many reasons why you can be out of work and I thought, this is so unpredictable and I have a family. I thought I’ve got thirty years of experience here, what am I doing?’
Jeremy decided to teach drama at Film UK in Hampshire and has had parents sheepishly tell him he was on their wall when they were teens.
Jeremy briefly dipped his toes into a career as a builder back in 2011 but went on to star in a few plays.
But it was after an acting job where he got paid ‘pittance’ he decided to turn his back on showbusiness for good as he said it’s ‘dog eat dog’ and he ‘never enjoyed being famous’.
The former soap star is now a father-of-two and happily married to wife Lydia Metz.
Shebah Ronay portrayed Natasha Andersen when Hollyoaks came to screen in 1995 and she stayed on the soap opera for five months.
The actress, now 51, was the first Hollyoaks regular to be killed off when she suffered a drugs overdose after her drink was spiked with an ecstasy tablet at a party.
She had a brief acting career from 1989 until 1998, when she starred on the likes of Reunion and The Man Who Cried.
However, she then left her on-screen roles behind and instead concentrated on her work as a model, presenter and journalist.
Shebah is now married to artist Jonathan Yeo and the pair share two daughters together.
She has proved an inspiration for his art career as he has painted her for two different works of art.
Brett O’Brien portrayed Louise Taylor on Hollyoaks, but her character’s appearance on the show was short-lived.
Louise was a free-loving character and was the best friend of Natasha Andersen and Dawn Cunningham, and she later claimed to see Natasha’s ghost after her death.
She left the show when Louise fell in love with a ‘New Age’ traveller called Tree, and she left the village to be with him in May 1996.
Since leaving the soap, the actress has featured in other shows including 2002’s Wire in the Blood, William and Mary in 2003 and Law And Order: UK.
In recent years, Brett has taken a step back from acting and has had no credits since 2009, and little is now known about her life away from the limelight.
Lisa Williamson arrived on Hollyoaks as Dawn Cunningham – the first member of the Cunningham family to appear on the soap opera.
Dawn was the main focus of a host of hard-hitting storylines, including an unwanted teenage pregnancy after having an affair with her best pal Ruth’s father Jack.
Though Lisa only appeared on the show for two years, the Cunningham family have continued to dominate the main storylines on the soap opera.
One member of the family still on the show is Tom Cunningham – the son of Helen and Gordon Cunningham – who has been played by Ellis Hollins, 23, since 2003.
Since leaving Hollyoaks after appearing in 127 episodes, Lisa has also appeared in Dream Team and Siren’s Bay.
She has since moved away from the screen and is known for being a voice actor for commercial adverts, while she is also a published author.
Lisa has published a whole string of successful young adult books including The Art of Being Normal, All About Mia and Paper Avalanche.