Back in October 1995 a new soap opera was born in the UK.

Hollyoaks, based in Chester, with a plethora of Manchester based actors populating the cast, first aired on Channel Four.

In the decades since, Hollyoaks has defied predictions that it wouldn't enjoy the longevity of soaps like Coronation Street or Eastenders, recently celebrating 26 years on the small screen.

Nowadays the show boasts around 50 regular characters but, when the first episode aired all those years ago, seven teenage characters were the focus of the Hollyoaks plotline.

Hollyoaks the original cast which took to the air in October 1995
Hollyoaks: The class of 1995

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While only one of these characters has survived to feature in the current show, they are numbered among some of the all time fan favourites.

Here, we look back at the original cast of Hollyoaks from October, 1995, and how their lives have turned out since.

Jeremy Edwards as Kurt Benson

Jeremy Edwards with his ex-girlfriend Rachel Stevens
Jeremy Edwards with his ex-girlfriend Rachel Stevens

Jeremy Edwards was a model, a merchant banker, and a Manchester Metropolitan graduate before he even came to grace the small screen.

His character Kurt Benson was the original hot rod of the Hollyoaks world, he loved motorbikes, he loved music, and he loved the ladies.

Kurt eventually settled down with Ruth Osborne (played by Terri Dwyer), but his character left the show in 1999 when their marriage fell on hard times, and was killed off, off-screen, death six months later.

Actor Jeremy went straight into Holby City, playing the role of male nurse Danny Shaughnessy for four years, and during this time he became engaged to S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens.

The pair were entertainment's golden couple, and blissfully happy for while. But as Jeremy's relationship with Rachel was strained by their busy schedules, tragedy struck.

In June 2003, Jeremy's Holby co-star, Laura Sadler, plunged 40 ft to her death from a balcony while watching the sun rise at her boyfriend's home in Holland Park, London.

The 22 year old died in hospital, having sustained massive head injuries, days later, leaving Jeremy, then 31, heartbroken.

He later told an interviewer, "It was a tough time for me. After Laura's death I got really messed up. I was drinking a hell of a lot and got seriously depressed," he told heat.

"It really shook me up. Losing such a close friend pushed me off the rails and sadly Rachel got caught up in my mess.

"It was at this point she confronted me about my problems and we agreed to have a break."

The couple reunited weeks later, but in January 2004 confirmed they had split for good.

Edwards went on to star in the 2005 season of Celebrity Big Brother and then Dancing on Ice. Nowadays he's a regular panellist on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff and a frequent star in Christmas pantomimes.

Edwards married Lydia Metz in May 2009, and the couple announced the impending arrival of their first child in 2020 after the pair underwent two rounds of IVF.

Their son Theodore Huckleberry was born in May of this year.

Will Mellor as James Bolton (Jambo)

Will Mellor in Two Pints of Lager and a packet of crisps
Will Mellor in Two Pints of Lager and a packet of crisps

Roughish and loveable James Bolton (known affectionately as Jambo) was played by Bredbury -born actor, and Manchester United fan, Will Mellor.

James was the resident petty criminal in Hollyoaks, who once famously stole a cow called Margaret, and was no stranger to trying doors and climbing through windows.

He left the show in 1998 but did pop up briefly in a 2004 Christmas special of the show.

After leaving the soap opera Will enjoyed a brief pop career, before appearing as Gaz in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.

He has also featured in Casualty, Merlin, Line of Duty, and Broadchurch. Mellor recently returned to soap world when he joined Coronation Street this year.

Mellor married dancer Michelle McSween in 2007 after they starred together in the stage musical Oh, What a Night, the couple now have two children together.

Mellor recently appeared on This Morning speaking about a time he was assaulted by a supposed fan.

And earlier this year, Will revealed how the stress of a series of family tragedies had left him with worrying symptoms.

His dad Bill died last April within two weeks of being told he had a brain tumour.

Then, just before Christmas Will lost his Uncle Barry. Then his Uncle George and Aunt Pat, with whom he was very close, died within days of each other – both with the same brain cancer that killed his dad. Then, Will's mother suffered a mini-stroke.

Will, who co-presents the podcast Two Pints with Will & Ralf, said: “It was just unbelievable...I had to take a little break away to reorganise my head. I said ‘I’ll build a bar in my garden in the name of my dad for something to do’ but I couldn’t see properly. My eyes and everything were going funny. I thought it could be due to stress. “Thankfully Mum’s going to be OK. It’s classed as a mini stroke.”

Shebah Ronay as Natasha Andersen

Shebah Ronay with her Hollyoaks co-star Lisa Williamson back in 1995
Lisa Williamson and Shebah Ronay arms around each other

Natasha was the original Hollyoaks poster girl. Glamorous, gorgeous and feisty, she was portrayed by London-born actor Shebah Ronay.

Natasha was the first Hollyoaks regular to be killed off, when she suffered dramatic drugs overdose in March 1996 when her drink was spiked with an ecstasy tablet as a house party.

While Shebah's 'Natasha' storyline gave Hollyoaks' producers the confidence to pursue more hard-hitting narratives, she didn't stick around long in the acting world.

After leaving the show she featured in the short film The Things We Do For Love but then moved on to concentrate on modelling, presenting, and journalism work.

She spent several years as a film columnist at the News of the World before becoming the stylist editor at Wedding Day magazine.

Nick Pickard as Tony Hutchinson

Nick Pickard as Tony Hutchinson back in 1999
Nick Pickard in Hollyoaks in 1999

Nick Pickard is the only original cast member to still feature on Hollyoaks having played the role of Tony Hutchinson for 26 years now.

The 45-year-old actor has certainly been through the ringer over the past two decades, surviving several thrilling stunts, a serial killer, and an axe-wielding murderer.

Even, TV and film hardman Danny Dyer couldn't finish him off when they had a dangerous rivalry in Hollyoaks Later.

Pickard told Digital Spy back in 2013 that he had originally signed up for just 26 episodes with Hollyoaks.

He said: "I really hope Hollyoaks goes on for as long as it can. I love the show and love the people more than anything - they're like my family."

Pickard owns several restaurants in Sheffield and made headlines when he started a relationship with his former Hollyoaks colleague Joanna Taylor, although the couple later split, with Taylor marrying ex-footballer Danny Murphy.

Lisa Williamson as Dawn Cunningham

Lisa Williamson as Dawn Cunnigham in Hollyoaks
Lisa Williamson actress

Although she lasted just two years on the soap, Dawn Cunningham was the first official member of the Cunningham family to arrive on Hollyoaks.

Her family have created something of a dynasty on the soap with the Cunninghams continuing to dominate the main plotlines.

Portrayed by Lisa Williamson, Dawn was the focus of several hard-hitting storylines, including an unwanted teen pregnancy following an affair with her best friend's father.

She briefly appeared on the series Dream Team after leaving Hollyoaks but is now best known as a voice actor for commercial adverts.

Williamson is now a published author and recently worked as an administrator at the Gender Identity Development Service.

Her most recent work, The First Day of My Life, is out now.

Brett O'Brien as Louise Taylor

Brett O'Brien, second in from the right, played the character of Louise Taylor on Hollyoaks
Brett O'Brien, second in from the right, played the character of Louise Taylor on Hollyoaks

Brett O'Brien's character Louise Taylor enjoyed a very short life on Hollyoaks.

Louise was a hippie, free loving type character who believed in horoscopes and provided the show's comic relief for a time.

She fell in love with a New Age traveller called Tree, leaving the area to be with him in May 1996.

Since leaving the soap O'Brien has played bit parts in other shows including Wire in the Blood, Law and Order: UK, and The Bill, and secured guest roles in shows like Wire in the Blood, Doctors and William & Mary.

She has also done voiceover work for a number of brands, including Jaguar and Jameson's Whiskey.

Yasmin Bannerman as Maddie Parker

Yasmin Bannerman back in 1995 when she first appeared in Hollyoaks
Yasmin Bannerman

Maddie Parker, portrayed by Yasmin Bannerman ,ran the local restaurant in Hollyoaks.

Maddie was a bit of a background character until her ex Michael held her hostage in a dramatic episode of the soap aired in 1997.

Since leaving the show, Bannerman has enjoyed a host of roles including a number of credits on sci-fi shows including Red Dwarf, Doctor Who, and Torchwood.

The actor was also a regular in the police drama Merseybeat.