Fast paced and issue-based, Hollyoaks follows the dramatic lives of a group of students at Hollyoaks Community College, set within the fictional suburb of Chester. The show has become known for its gorgeous young cast and melodramatic storylines. It was created by Phil Redmond, the man behind Brookside and Grange Hill, and was first aired on 23 October 1995 with a cast of just seven characters. Since then it has feature more than 50 core actors and helped launch the careers of Will Mellor, Natalie Casey, Gemma Atkinson, Gary Lucy and Jeremy Edwards. While early episodes of Hollyoaks were more about parties, snogging and boyfriend troubles, it quickly knuckled down to more serious matters. Hollyoaks has adopted a bold attitude to breaking social and TV taboos: from troubled teen Newt's schizophrenia; the disturbing male rape of Luke Morgan; the incestuous rape of Mandy Richardson by her father; Lisa Hunter's battle with self-harm; and the poisoning of gay ex-priest Kieron Hobbs. Hollyoaks has fans all over the world, broadcasting to Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, USA, Turkey and parts of Eastern Europe. It has also generated a number of late night spin-offs, in which the post-watershed characters can really let rip!