Hollyoaks launches VR film as part of its Prolific North women’s safety campaign

Lime Pictures’ digital team has launched a 360-degree virtual reality experience in the metaverse to coincide with Hollyoaks’ powerful “Long Walk Home” episode and its associated women’s safety campaign.

It allows users to experience the sights and sounds of Hollyoaks character Maxine Minniver on her lonely journey home from a night out.

In the interactive short, set in the village of Hollyoaks and featuring a voiceover from Nikki Sanderson, who plays Maxine, we hear her internal narrative as she returns home from a night out.

The concept immersive experience was written by episode writer Jayshree Patel. It does not feature an attack and Maxine returns home safely.

Users of the VR experience hear the sounds in different settings as Maxine walks home from The Loft nightclub. The interactions she has with people along the way highlight the misogynistic and threatening experiences for many women that instill fear and the need to avoid intimidating situations for many people in everyday life.

Patel said: “The VR experience is an exciting move for Hollyoaks. It allows us to reach a whole new audience who will be able to experience life through Maxine’s eyes. We hope people will recognize some of the thought processes experienced by Maxine and appreciate how doubtful a trip home can be.

The film was produced by Lime Digital, in conjunction with ARK immersive who provided specialist cameras and assistance to create the 360° view of Hollyoaks Village like we’ve never seen it before.

It can be found on platforms such as Meta Quest in the VR for Good section which harnesses the unique capabilities of virtual reality to create human-centered stories that promote empathy and empowerment. It was also launched in Must-See Immersive Entertainment and can be viewed without a VR headset on Facebook and YouTube.

The show also aims to shed light on the disparities between men and women in the film and television industry. The episode “The Long Walk Home” was created by an all-female team, including the writer, director, cameramen, engineers, and crew. The film also aspires to foster more female talent in space.

Activist and content creator Danielle Lucy was a supporting artist in the VR film. She said: “Participating in The Long Walk Home was very important to me because I don’t think this topic is talked about or taken seriously enough. I wanted to be able to share my own experiences and educate my followers, friends and family about the dangers women and girls face every day. I think because Hollyoaks is such a respected show and how they approached this and how it was filmed, it will make people of all generations and genders stop and listen.

Mara R. Wilmoth