Gilly Roach’s trial will not be ‘sensationalised’, says Hollyoaks‘ commissioning editor Roberto Troni.

The personal trainer, played by Anthony Quinlan, has been accused of rape by Jacqui McQueen (Claire Cooper), and will stand trial with a jury made up of viewers deciding the verdict, airing on April 1.

Roberto insisted the soap is determined to cover the challenging storyline in a responsible way, telling the Guardian: “We wouldn’t have wanted to do it if it felt sensationalised or engendered a response that was negative.

“It could have been done in a way that felt tacky or like a personality contest. But for us it’s about debating the issues. It’s about two people having very different opinions about what happened in a room.”

Gilly and Jacqui end up in a bedroom, but as the door closes, viewers aren’t shown what actually happened between the friends. Jacqui later claims she was raped by Gilly.

Roberto said the Hollyoaks team – who consulted criminal barrister Paul Dockery about the plot – discussed the consequences if the jury returned a ‘not guilty’ verdict, and whether real-life victims would be discouraged from coming forward.

“The feeling, to an extent, was that if they found Gilly not guilty, then to some extent that’s reflective of what happens in the real world,” he added.