I usually do one soap related blog a month but the current storyline on Hollyoaks with Esther Bloom being relentlessly bullied by her peers (one of whom she has the misfortune to actually live with) has certainly got me wanting to do one extra blog this month.
As viewers saw on Monday's episode on Channel 4 (or Friday, three days beforehand on E4), the bullying finally took it's toll on Esther and she made a suicide attempt, which at first didn't appear to be successful until the final five minutes of the episode where she had to be hospitalised after her overdose on booze and tablets. Now that we've seen the very worst thing to happen to Esther, does that mean things will finally get better?
I can congratulate this show on not really holding back when it comes to Esther's bullying, which for the last few months, courtesy of Sinead and Ruby has resulted in endless online abuse, nasty comments, isolation, some elements of physical assault and even getting the majority of the student body to even go as far as fire bottles of urine at Esther. On a frustrating note though the people who should have been supporting Esther such as her family, friends and teachers have either outright ignored her plight or been conveniently absent in order to further prolong Esther's general misery, resulting in her near suicide attempt, that is now rumoured to have lasting consequences on the character's general health.
Terrific performances from Jazmine Franks as Esther aside, I do think it's time we saw the proper consequences for Sinead and Ruby as well. Hollyoaks sometimes has a tendency to short change fallout for those deserving of it (Mercedes and Dr Browning being recent examples of this) but considering that this bullying storyline is being supported by a charity and that even a suicide attempt hasn't made either Sinead or Ruby (the main instigators of this storyline, along with Maddie, prior to her well deserved demise in November) take stock of their horrible actions, I think it would end up doing the storyline a massive disservice if somehow we don't see the bullies in question punished as well as proper fallout for the support systems that have generally failed Esther over the last few months.