Hollyoaks records remote mental health podcast amid COVID-19


Channel 4 soap series Hollyoaks has recorded a remote podcast with actors discussing mental health topics amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Don’t Filter Feelings is hosted by presenter and journalist Lauren Layfield; and features conversations about issues that matter, with people who have stories to share.

Hollyoaks podcast

This podcast special, Mental Health: Listen Up in Lockdown, has been recorded remotely during the outbreak of COVID-19, Channel 4 said.

Layfield is joined by actor Ashley Taylor Dawson and mental health campaigner Josh Connolly, from their homes; as they discuss male mental health.

During the UK’s social distancing and isolation measures an innovative approach was necessary to capture the conversation while maintaining audio quality; and deliver Don’t Filter Feelings at a time when it is needed more than ever.

Taylor, Connolly and Layfield all connected via video call while recording their own contributions.

“It’s either you are going through a portal or going into a hole; and that’s how you’ve got to attack it really”, Taylor said.

“You’ve got to make it something; make it an experience instead of wallowing in the misery of what it could be.”

On home-schooling his children, Taylor said: “As a dad you sort of try and be the all-knowing father, but your kids who are nine are better at their times table than you are.”

Hollyoaks is currently exploring mid-life depression amongst males with two of its best-loved characters, Darren Osborne and Kyle Kelly.

Darren Osborne, played by Ashley Taylor Dawson, has been silently struggling with depression for some months, but in the coming weeks he begins to crack under the weight of his feelings of desperation.

Month of Listening

The podcast will launch Hollyoaks ‘Month of Listening’ a multi-platform campaign to encourage people to become better listeners and not to ‘filter’ the feelings of people who are brave enough to open-up.

Other elements of the campaign will include:

  • A bespoke ‘bunny ears’ giphy sticker that the audience can use within their Instagram posts to signal they are ‘listening’
  • Interactive Instagram stories with Hollyoaks cast
  • Social posts with inspirational quotes about listening such as “People start to heal the moment they feel heard”

All the activity during the ‘Month of Listening’ will sit under the #DontFilterFeelings brand, Hollyoaks multi-award-winning social campaign that is designed to support and further explore issues around mental health that feature within the storylines.

Don’t Filter Feelings Podcast will be available Wednesday 1st April at 1pm.