Do You Like American Daytime Soaps? Don’t Miss Out on the British Soap ‘Hollyoaks’

Anyone who’s followed British television over the decades knows American TV has often pillaged from them. With soap operas, America is a little more original. Not that the U.K. and the U.S. probably don’t borrow from one another through their famous soaps.

One of the most popular shows in this category across the pond is Hollyoaks. Those who watch American soaps here might not be familiar with this one yet, even if other British soaps have aired here on networks like BBC America.

With Hollyoaks, the plot is a little different from most typical American counterparts. Nevertheless, it’s been on in the U.K. for 25 years, with American fans of General Hospital and Young and the Restless finding it just as addictive.

What is Hollyoaks about, and will it be copied here in the U.S.?

This soap focuses exclusively on teens and young adults rather than tilting older. Not that American soaps haven’t always trended toward focusing on younger cast members. Many of the younger cast members, though, are usually well into their 20s if not 30s.

Hollyoaks looks at teens and 20-somethings attending a university, particularly a technical college. The stories all take place in the fictional suburb of Chester, located in real Hollyoaks.

Because it focuses on younger characters, it’s known for delving into more graphic issues Millennials/Generation Z are still going through. Much of this involves underage sex, plus abortion as just starters. When it began in 1995, those subjects were already things being seen on British TV to some extent.

Yes, anyone who caught British TV 30 years ago will know they’ve allowed some profanity and nudity on network airings there that have never been allowed on standard American TV.

How many Americans are watching Hollyoaks?

The series is currently available on Hulu to stream, so it’s already found an audience here. Many British soap fans here find it amazing the show has lasted as long as it has based on how things designed for younger demographics age so fast.

One reason is the series keeps up to date on the latest young adult issues seen year by year. There isn’t any letup in sight for the series while it continues to make money through streaming rights here in the states.

No doubt many TV executives have been looking at Hollyoaks carefully as well. Would there ever be a chance of the series being adapted for American TV? With a long history of stealing from British TV, it’s kind of surprising it hasn’t already happened.

If such a thing did happen, would it push the boundaries for what’s allowed if mainstream networks decided to air it? Because certain soap traditions seem maintained on regular networks, it might have to be a streaming soap.

Hollyoaks cast in front of a repeating background
Cast of Hollyoaks | Mike Marsland/WireImage/Getty Images

What would an American adaptation of Hollyoaks look like?

An interesting thing to note about Hollyoaks is the amount of British talent it helped nurture. Just like American soaps, younger actors started out there, including James Corden (as Wayne).

Adapting the series in America could happen someday. Probably the only thing preventing it from happening is soap operas have been on the wane on American TV in more recent years.

Most of the chestnuts are still hanging in there, including covering a few issues people truly care about. Overall, though, the same plots are usually in play. Maybe having an all-Millennial daytime soap would liven things up, outside of the challenge of getting younger demographics to watch daytime TV.