Hollyoaks to explore unconscious bias in a special episode for Martine and Grace

Susannah Alexander
·4-min read

From Digital Spy

Hollyoaks spoilers follow.

Hollyoaks will explore the issue of unconscious bias in a special episode to air next week, which charts the very different experiences that Martine Deveraux and Grace Black have when they both discover a lump in their breast.

The episode will see both women visit the hospital to find out whether their lump could be cancerous, but their days go in very different directions due to the influence of unconscious bias.

In upcoming episodes, Martine's (Kéllé Bryan) worries begin when she overhears her ex Felix Westwood (Richard Blackwood) asking their daughter Celeste Faroe (Andrea Ali) for a favour, which would implicate her in Felix's dodgy business deal. Martine furiously shouts at Felix but it's clear to Celeste that Martine still feels a great deal of passion for him.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

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Felix feels torn between Martine and his girlfriend Grace (Tamara Wall) and ends up going to see Martine on Grace's birthday, at which point Martine confesses her feelings for him.

The pair passionately kiss, but during their romantic moment they discover a lump on Martine's chest.

Later, during the special episode, we will then see both Martine and Grace visit the hospital to have an appointment with a specialist to find out whether the lumps they have both found on their breasts could be cancerous.

The appointments also fall on the day that both women have their interviews for the Businesswoman of the Year Award.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

While Grace's day goes off without a hitch, Martine has a very different experience and is actually turned away from the hospital by Peri Lomax (Ruby O'Donnell), meaning that she doesn't get an opportunity to speak to the doctor at all.

Deciding that he wants to be there for Martine, Felix turns up at the hospital to support her, but Grace spots him and gets the wrong idea, sharing how glad she is that her boyfriend showed up for her.

Meanwhile, Celeste gives Peri a piece of her mind after hearing about what happened at the hospital, leaving Peri shocked. After talking it over with Misbah (Harvey Virdi), Peri realises where she went wrong and sets out in search of Martine in the hopes of convincing her to go to her rescheduled appointment.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

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Speaking about the storyline, Martine actress Kéllé told Inside Soap: "It's a hideous day for Martine, but unfortunately, it's everyday life for me as a Black woman.

"What's clever about this episode is that it's not showing some big drama – it just points out the mundane things in your life that you wouldn't even recognise as being unconscious bias.

"It's taken Martine so much courage to go to the hospital, and the way she's treated is just awful," she added. "It's a challenging time, and there will be a lot of hurdles for Martine to overcome before she decides what to do next."

The special episode will be accompanied by an episode of the soap's Don't Filter Feelings podcast, in which actors Richard Blackwood and Andrea Ali tell host Yinka Bokinni about their own experiences of racism during their lives.

Photo credit: Lime Pictures
Photo credit: Lime Pictures

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"The episode is done in a way which is so raw and so accurate," Andrea told Inside Soap of Hollyoaks' unconscious bias episode. "I think it will cause people to stop and look at themselves, to look at the environments they've been in.

"People go, 'It's either racist or it's not.' But there's a space that sits between which are the micro-aggressions, which Black people as a whole feel."

Hollyoaks airs its special episode on Wednesday, April 14 at 7pm on E4 and Thursday, April 15 at 6.30pm on Channel 4.

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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