Soap power: 6 life-changing storylines that had an impact

From Digitalspy – 3rd February 2016 Character resurrections, staggering stunts and baby plots aplenty, soaps are often criticised for their improbable scenarios. But as Emmerdale has proved recently, these shows can also deliver groundbreaking storylines that have the ability to change lives. Emotional scenes this week saw Aaron have the most difficult conversation of his life, as he told his mum Chas that he was sexually abused by his father Gordon as a child.  And Aaron is far from the first soap character whose tragic story has raised awareness of an important social issue. Here are six plots which had an impact far beyond the living room.   1. Esther’s suicide attempt in Hollyoaks led […]

Transforming Soaps To Represent Real Life

From Canterbury Post – 19th January 2016 Back in October, the media was abuzz with casting news for two of Britain’s most popular soap operas. Eastenders led the way with the announcement that trans actor Riley Carter Millington would be coming onboard as the mysterious Kyle and shortly afterwards, Hollyoaks announced that trans actress Annie Wallace would be cast as headteacher Sally St Claire. Although by no means the first trans actors to grace the screens, this was a huge step forward – these shows are watched by huge audiences across the country on a weekly basis, which can only […]

Annie Wallace praises Hollyoaks plot: “Hopefully stories like Mrs St Claire’s will inspire confidence”

From Digitalspy – 15th January 2016 Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace has said that she hopes her character Mrs St Claire’s story will inspire confidence and raise awareness. Wallace is  ​the first ever transgender character on Hollyoaks to be played by a trans actress, but her alter-ego will be left distraught next week, when Peri Lomax spitefully exposes her past next week, prompting her to subsequently resign. It remains to be seen if Mrs St Claire can weather the storm or not, but Wallace is glad that the transgender community is receiving a wider representation on TV. Riley Carter Millington recently joined EastEnders as the first transgender […]

Transgender actress Rebecca Root: ‘The year my identity stopped being a crisis’

From the Evening Standard – 23rd December 2015 Actress Annie Wallace transitioned 26 years ago but it wasn’t until October this year that she felt able to come out. She didn’t want to jeopardise her acting career by saying she was trans. Now she is on Channel 4 every weeknight, playing strict head teacher Sally St Claire in Hollyoaks, the first character on the soap to be played by a trans woman. This has been a year of empowerment for trans people. There have been so many significant moments in 2015, from Caitlyn Jenner’s unveiling on the cover of Vanity […]

Trans TV: From Transparent to Boy Meets Girl and EastEnders, this was a year in transition

From The Guardian – 17th December 2015 Now, I like to see a penis being chopped up and fashioned into a designer vagina as much as the next television viewer – but what a relief that transgender representation seems to have moved on in 2015. Yes, Channel 4 is still churning out those awful shock docs about “SEX CHANGE SURGERY!!!”, but these shows are starting to look increasingly silly and, dare I say it, old fashioned. With the success of Netflix hits Orange is the New Black and Sense8, both of which feature trans characters played by trans actors, not to […]

These were the biggest moments for LGBT people in 2015

From The Independent – 29th December 2015 What was 2015 like for queer people around the world? Truthfully, it’s been a mixed bag. Equal marriage has spread across the world, yet hate crime is up. Trans people and queer people of colour have gained more media visibility, yet austerity measures have disproportionately struck those very communities. And queer people are still more likely to face homelessness and violence – even while tolerance increases. But let’s begin with the achievements. Equal marriage Back in May, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalise equal marriage by referendum. This turned […]

Seven trans and non-binary moments of 2015

From Diva – 15th December 2015 Finally, the mainstream media are discussing trans/non-binary people like they are, well, actually real people. DIVA has taken a look back at some of the best moments. Caitlyn Jenner debuts her new look on Vanity Fair When she appeared on the July cover of Vanity Fair, Caitlyn did something wonderful for transgender rights. She placed trans people in the public eye. The cover opened up a critical discussion of the portrayal of transgender people in the mainstream media, and brought joy to many in the trans community. Ruby Rose’s opening speech at MTV’s Europe […]

Annie Wallace, trans actress, asks ‘Where do we go from here?’

From Gay Times – 20th December 2015 As I write this, we’ve just entered December; traditionally a time for reflecting on the past year, and our place within it. This year, trans people have a lot to reflect upon. Suddenly, we’re everywhere, or so it seems; regularly in the press, increasingly on television and starting to emerge in films. Caitlyn Jenner and Kellie Maloney captured the headlines. Stephanie Hirst took to the airwaves again, and Paris Lees was invited onto Question Time. Twice. Trans people certainly seem to have captured the zeitgeist. But this ‘overnight success’ isn’t quite what it […]

Hollyoaks star Annie Wallace on trans storyline: ‘Sally is terrified when her secret is discovered’

From Digitalspy – 1 December 2015 “We’re helping to change hearts and minds from people’s living rooms,” says the show’s newcomer. ​She was once the secret advisor who helped to inspire the on-screen journey of Coronation Street‘s Hayley Cropper. But now Hollyoaks newcomer Annie Wallace is taking centre stage with a gripping soap storyline of her own. The 50-year-old actress is playing Hollyoaks High’s strict headteacher Sally St Claire, who’s left fearful this week when her colleague John Paul McQueen (James Sutton) discovers her trans status. Sally is the first ever trans character on Hollyoaks to be played by a trans cast […]

EastEnders star Riley Carter Millington attends Rainbow List Party with Hollyoaks’ Annie Wallace

From DigitalSpy – 17 November 2015 Soap newcomers Riley Carter Millington and Annie Wallace celebrated their success at the Rainbow List party last night (November 16). The Independent’s Rainbow List celebrates the 101 most influential lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people in Britain. Millington was cast in EastEnders earlier this year and has now become the first trans man to top the list, while Hollyoaks’ first trans actress Wallace was recognised as well. EastEnders boss Dominic Treadwell-Collins also featured on this year’s list for the first time, due to casting the first trans male actor (Millington) in a leading trans role. Taking […]