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Richard Blackwood seen in special Hollyoaks episode championing Black talent

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Hollyoaks have commenced filming on an hour-long special that’s set to air later this year featuring Richard Blackwood and Kelle Bryan.

The press office have said the episode “will play a pivotal part” in Channel 4’s Black to Front diversity project.

On Friday 10 September, Channel 4 will broadcast programming fronted by Black talent and featuring Black contributors to champion Black voices and stories.

Hollyoaks' contribution is a special episode written by core team writer Thabo Mhlatshwa and anchored around the Deveraux family. The current cast will be joined by actors past, present and future who are played by Black and Black heritage talent.

Kelle said: “This Black to Front episode is a celebration of family traditions, which have historically held Black families and Black communities together since migration. Our purpose is to make a meaningful contribution to the Black to Front tapestry aptly curated by Channel 4.”

The actress continued: “Capitalising on Hollyoaks' youthful viewership, hopefully this will allow our audience to come on a journey with us, understanding our culture and realising the fundamentals that make us all the same.

“Once cultural differences are understood, this can often dissipate hatred, racism or bigotry, simply by telling truthful stories we can all relate to.”

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The poignant episode is being directed by Patrick Robinson who fans may recognise from his early acting days when he played consultant Martin ‘Ash’ Ashford in Casualty.

Patrick said: “I’m very excited to be directing this hour long special of Hollyoaks, featuring characters who share my background and heritage.

“Overstanding other people’s cultures, I believe, is one giant step towards an inclusive society and Drama is one of the best tools to do that. Music, Dance and Art also play a vital part in giving greater insight basically because we feel it…Heart, body and soul.”

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The all-Black episode not only champions Black actors, but will also feature an original score written by the acclaimed composer Bankey Oji.

As well as writing the episode, Thabo has also hand selected a number of tracks to feature which acknowledge the incredible talent of Black British musicians including Arlo Parks and YXUNG Bane.

“Love is the theme of the episode,” Patrick revealed, explaining that he “hoped” that was a topic we could all relate to. “And my litmus test for any good work? Did I feel…,” he added.

Hollyoaks’ Black to Front special will air Friday 10 September on Channel 4.

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