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Press release

  • 23 September 2004
  • Hollyoaks’ Abby set for a Fresher role at Sussex

    As new students across the UK prepare to leave home and loved ones for university, one young soap character is making a complete drama out of it as she prepares to join them as a "Fresher" (new first-year student) at the University of Sussex.

    Friday's episode (24 September, 6.30pm, Channel 4) of top teen drama Hollyoaks will feature the "will she, won't she" traumas of Abby Davies, torn between a life with true love Lee Hunter in the eponymous Chester suburb, and being a student hundreds of miles away on the South Coast.

    Having juggled school studies with a rollercoaster romantic and family life, the fictional Abby has passed her A-levels and won a place to study for a degree in English Literature at Sussex. But will she resist the charms of Lee (armed with engagement ring and marriage proposal) to embrace the challenge of academic life and the bright lights of Brighton?

    Actress Helen Noble, who plays Abby, says: "Abby and Lee promise to phone every day but will their love conquer the hundreds of miles between them?" Producers picked Sussex because of its distance from Chester (making frequent trips home difficult), the popularity of its English course and the buzz of nearby Brighton - an attraction not lost on feisty and fun-loving Abby.

    Helen believes many prospective students will identify with the character of Abby as she struggles to make the right choices. She says: "I got my job on Hollyoaks immediately after my A-levels, so I didn't have a chance to go to university, but it must be a situation that loads of people across the country are facing at the moment. It's exciting moving away, but it's sad having to leave the people you love behind. Abby's got a tough choice to make."

    Helen is keeping tightlipped, however, about her character's final decision, but if Abby does decide to join around 2,000 new students due on campus for the start of term, what can she expect? Apart from the usual registering, settling into on-campus housing and preparing for her first lectures and tutorials, there are the delights of Freshers' Week (27 Sep-1 Oct) - designed to get students socialising and to help them find their feet. The week includes campus-wide activities ranging from a fancy-dress "dash" round campus to a fireworks display, parties, dinners, a Freshers' Festival, where students can sign up for societies and sports and seek out advice and - to round off the week - the Caribbean-themed Freshers' Ball.

    Shell Morgan, Student Experience Manager at Sussex, says: "The point is to keep the students so busy they don't have time to feel homesick and can't help but make friends and get stuck into their work. We also offer support to ensure they feel they've made the right decision in coming here."

    And if breaking up with Lee is hard to do, Abby's new course will supply her with touchingly appropriate words from Shakepeare's Juliet: "Parting is such sweet sorrow..."


    Notes for editors 

    For more information about the Hollyoaks storyline, please contact Susan Wilks/Gemma Hayden, tel: 0151 737 4027/4047. For photographs, contact JP Sherrard, tel: 0151 737 4024

    Keep up to date with plot developments at

    For information on Freshers' Week, see

    University Press office contacts: Maggie Clune, 01273 678209, or Jacqui Bealing, 01273 877437,


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