Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks is to air a male suicide storyline which will see Kyle Kelly, played by Adam Rickitt, take his own life.
The Lime Pictures production has been exploring mid-life depression amongst males with two of its best-loved characters, Darren and Kyle, with an aim to highlight suicide prevention issues.
Hollyoaks will not play out Kyle’s death on screen, but the aftermath of his loss will be explored as Kyle’s friends and family come to terms with the news and the effect the bereavement has on their children and his fiancee Nancy.
Executive producer Bryan Kirkwood said that the Chester-based soap’s writing team had been laying the building blocks of Darren and Kyle’s individual stories for some time, carefully exploring the nuances that comes from two men living with depression in two very different ways.
Rickitt said he had initially found the prospect of the storyline “daunting”.
He said: “When I first heard about the storyline, I was excited as an actor to be able to portray such a dramatic journey, and pride that the team had entrusted me to do it. There was also a sense of personal fear. Like all too many I had to walk a similar path in my lifetime and the idea of revisiting that, even in the world of fiction, was slightly daunting.
“In truth though it became an incredibly empowering experience. The sensitivity and heart that the writers put into the story really shone through, and at a time like now, more than ever, I think we need to be highlighting just this sort of issue.”
Hollyoaks has worked with charity Mind to ensure the depiction of male depression and suicide have been handled sensitively and portrayed accurately.