Hollyoaks Anorexia Storyline
In 2007, Hollyoaks became the first UK soap to feature a character’s death from an eating disorder.
Hannah Ashworth (played by Emma Rigby), watched her friend Melissa (played by Carla Chase), collapse and die from anorexia after the two made a pact with each other.
Even though Melissa had been hospitalised and was seriously ill, she was planning to run away with Hannah before her abrupt and untimely death.
Emma Rigby said it was a tough moment to shoot. Speaking on Radio 1’s Newsbeat, she said, “When I was filming those scenes I was so upset and almost physically sick because I was crying so much”.
Although at first she had concerns that people would say the show was glamorising eating disorders because the two characters involved were wanting to become models, she felt Hollyoaks showed this type of disease in its true light.
It’s true that the characters in Hollyoaks are glamorous, having spent hours and hours in make up before shooting their scenes. But in reality they are just normal people. Emma Rigby has the following message for young men and women who watch the show and feel pressure to look like them:
“Anyone who feels pressure to look a certain a way, it’s not real life, and it is a soap, and they shouldn’t concentrate on trying to look a certain way but being happy and healthy with themselves”.
It would appear that Hollyoaks has succeeded in raising awareness and provoking much discussion of the huge problem of eating disorders.
Twenty percent of people diagnosed with anorexia will die from the disease.