Inside Hollyoaks ‘curse’ as Sarah Jayne Dunn is sacked over OnlyFans row – from awards show bust ups to racism furore

HOLLYOAKS viewers tune in nightly for a heady mix of murder, mayhem and steamy romance – but the Channel 4 soap has its fair share of drama off-screen, too.

Yesterday it emerged that Sarah Jayne Dunn has been sacked from her long-running role on the show, after she refused to stop stripping off on the OnlyFans website.


The star, who has played Mandy Richardson since 1996, lost her £120k a year job on the soap after a dispute with executives over the X-rated content.

It's not the first scandal to hit the show, with shocking past allegations of racism, fights and booze problems behind the scenes.

While some actors have been axed like Sarah, others have quit their roles and gone on to publicly bad-mouth the show.

Here we take a look at the Hollyoaks dramas that have overshadowed the storylines in its 26-year run.

Racism row

The show was embroiled in a racism scandal in June 2020 after actress Rachel Adedeji hit out at the Channel 4 show's Black Lives Matter social media post and podcast.

Hollyoaks went silent for 24 hours on its platforms in response to the death of George Floyd in the US.

Rachel, 30, claimed the programme's stance was “performative and disingenuous” and said “systematic changes must be put into practice".

She made a series of shocking allegations about incidents backstage, including the lack of diversity in the directing team and shocking slurs from a senior member of production, that were backed up by other members of the cast.

The soap launched an investigation and a step by step plan to deal with any racism – however when other allegations came to light from former stars, Marnie Nightingale actress Lysette Anthony called them "traitorous".

It sparked an immediate backlash, with her messages being made public by Charlie Clapham and Rachel labelling her "absolute trash".

The Sun Online exclusively revealed Rachel decided to quit the soap after four years playing Lisa Loveday.


Chelsee Healey at an illegal rave

Chelsee Healey, 33, hit the headlines in June 2020 for all the wrong reasons.

The Goldie McQueen actress was forced to apologise after breaking lockdown rules and attending an illegal "quarantine rave" that left a Manchester beauty spot painted by LS Lowry completely ruined.

More than 4,000 people – including former Hollyoaks star Malique Thompson-Dwyer – attended the rave leaving a trail of destruction in their wake.

The rave – and another one in Carrington, Manchester – left one man dead from a drugs overdose and cops investigating the alleged rape of a girl aged 18 and three serious stabbings.

The previous month, Chelsee was accused of breaching lockdown to travel 200 miles to visit Lauren Goodger’s jailbird ex Jake McLean, whom she'd recently started dating.

After being pictured breaking lockdown again, Chelsee apologised, saying: "On Saturday night I made a silly mistake. I now realise it was irresponsible and I am truly sorry."

Stephanie Davis axing and return

The actress has played Sinead O'Connor for ten years on and off, and her time at the show hasn't always been positive.

In 2016 Stephanie, 28, was sacked for her behaviour on set, after she turned up “unfit for work because of alcohol consumption”.

She then signed up for Celebrity Big Brother before her drinking spiralled out of control.

Clean, sober and healthy again Stephanie was given a second chance and made a return to the soap in 2018 as Sinead – which reportedly incensed some cast members.

But in September 2019 she took a break following her split from boyfriend Owen Warner.

Five months later she shared a heartbreaking post on Instagram revealing her battle with depression led her to attempt suicide and left her in intensive care.

In June 2020 she announced she was quitting the soap permanently, writing on social media: "Sometimes we make decisions based not on what we want but what we know is right!

"I have loved bringing Sinead into your homes for the past ten years but it’s with a heavy heart I have decided to leave Hollyoaks and now looking forward to working on new and exciting projects."


Jamie Lomas 'death threat'

Jamie Lomas was involved in a fracas when he was threatened by Emmerdale star Asan N'Jie, at the 2019 TV Choice Awards.

The 46-year-old squared up to Asan, 26, backstage after the ITV actor reportedly aimed a “sarcastic” jibe at him.

The pair were pulled apart by stunned cast members before “they went at it again”.

In a clip of the bust-up, Asan screams: “Do you think you are a f***ing big man? I’m going to f*****g kill you."

Asan was subsequently dumped by Emmerdale, with another actor replacing him as Ellis Chapman.

Danniella Westbrook given the boot

Actress Danniella played Trudy Ryan from 2012 to 2013 and was due to reprise her role two years later, when she was axed at the last minute for "breach of contract."

The star, 47, initially claimed she had pulled out because her ex, Tom Richards, had a training camp near her Liverpool accommodation and she "did not feel safe".

However she has since claimed soap bosses sacked her because she and ex-boyfriend Bryan Harvey delivered a petition on child abuse to Downing Street.

In a spat with the former E17 star, she claimed she "told them to stick their job" after they asked her to retract the statements she made over child abuse.

She added: "I said fine, then I won’t come and do the job because I stand by everything that happened to me as a little girl."

In 2013 the actress revealed she had been sexually abused as a child, and spoke candidly about her painful memories of being raped aged seven on the Channel 5 show In Therapy.

James Corden fat shamed

The 42-year-old Late Late Show host used to play a caretaker named Wayne on the Chester-based soap.

James revealed he stood up to show execs when they tried to mock his character's eating habits with posters of junk food on the wall.

In an interview with The New Yorker in January, the multi-millionaire star slammed Hollyoaks for fat-shaming Wayne and said it was "hell on earth" on the soap.

The TV host said: "They were just really nasty."

He added: "I remember saying to the guy, 'I don't know one person who would take a picture of a hot dog and a burger and stick them on the wall.'"

James has never looked back fondly on his time on Hollyoaks, where he worked in 1999 and 2000.

He has no desire to return to the set and take up his role again, saying bluntly he would "rather die".

Laila Rouass bullied into stripping off

The actress played a police detective in the soap in 2003 but says she paid her way out of her contract on the show so she could leave early after her treatment.

In June 2020 she tweeted about how she had been "bullied" into stripping off for the show's calendar.

Laila, 50, wrote: "When I told you I didn’t want to feature in your annual calendar where we instructed to wear almost nothing, you booked my flight to Spain anyway.

"Your reasoning… 'we don’t have anyone that looks like you on the show'. The pressure you put on me made me feel helpless and stuck..

"I got on that plane, I took the photos, I felt dirty and weak afterwards but luckily I got another job, paid my way out of the contract (which I’ve never heard of any actor doing). And I wasn’t featured in the calendar. It was the best money I spent."

Parry Glasspool knife row

Parry, 29, who played Harry Thompson in the soap before being killed off in 2019 was once suspended and fined over a video he posted about domestic violence.

The 30-second clip was titled "When girls try and hide their crazy…" and featured the actor waving a knife in front of the camera.

He said in the footage: "Babe, I don't mind you talking to other girls, OK? No, actually I would. I would kill you if you did. Wouldn’t even know how to.

"With this knife I know exactly how to. Done it before and I’ll do it again so don’t even think about it."

Harry missed two weeks of filming and was ordered to pay a "substantial" fine, which was donated to a domestic violence charity.

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