tv & movies

Hollyoaks sparks huge surge in helpline calls with Cleo McQueen's eating disorder story

Hollyoaks has helped spark a surge in helpline calls following Cleo McQueen’s eating disorder storyline.

According to the BBC, more people called the Beat helpline in October than in any other month ever, and the charity believes the Channel 4 soap had a “significant impact”.

Cleo – played by Nadine Rose Mulkerrin – suffered from bulimia in the series, and in a recent episode viewers saw the character have a heart attack as a result of her illness.

Tom Quinn, the director of external affairs at Beat, explained that the charity worked closely with the soap when Cleo’s storyline was being written.

“I don’t think we can say the rise is just because of Hollyoaks; our general trend is up although that doesn’t mean every month is higher than before,” he said.

“But I definitely think Hollyoaks was really effective in raising awareness and I think we can be pretty confident it had a significant impact in more people contacting the helpline than ever before.”

Hollyoaks airs weekdays at 6.30pm on Channel 4, with first-look screenings on E4 at 7pm.

Beat promotes awareness and understanding of eating disorders, also challenging inaccurate stereotypes and stigma. Find out more at Beat’s website. Beat’s helpline for those aged 18 and over is 0808 801 0677, and there’s also a dedicated Youthline for those under 18 – 0808 801 0711.

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