Donegal man behind the scenes of Hollyoaks

A Donegal man is shaping the storylines on one of the UK’s most watched soap operas.

Antóin Beag Ó Colla has taken up a job with Lime Pictures, the company that makes Hollyoaks, The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore.

Now living in Liverpool, the Magheroarty man is a script editor on Hollyoaks, the Channel 4 series watched daily by up to one million viewers.


In his new role the 38-year-old works hand in glove with the writers and producers of Britain’s popular young adult soap.

“I’m a script writer so I work with the writers, the producers, the executive producers and the schedulers,” Antóin said.

“It’s a creative job but from an administration point of view. I work with the writers to get the best script possible so I’ll be saying things like

‘This character is good but they probably wouldn’t say something like that’.

“I have to make sure we aren’t writing in actors who are not available and I have to say what we can film without going over budget. People tend to think we have this cheque book that allows us to film anything we want but that definitely isn’t the case.”

Antóin at the famous Hollyoaks sign.

The move is the latest step in an already impressive media career that has included writing the hugely successful Irish language short films Rúbaí and An Mhallacht.


Antóin has also worked on shows including Red Rock, Callan’s Kicks and Fair City.

Last year he appeared on TG4’s ‘The Only Gay in the Village’, offering an insight into life as a gay man in the Donegal Gaeltacht.

Liverpool and Lime Pictures is a far cry from the sedate nature of his home in west Donegal.

“The great thing about it is how diverse it is, both in front of the cameras and behind them. Efforts are always made to represent as many walks of life as possible and to keep the finger on the pulse of what is happening in society.”

An example of tapping into the modern psyche can be found in a recent Hollyoaks storyline titled ‘County Lines’.

County lines is a term used when drug gangs from big cities expand their operations to smaller towns, exploiting children and vulnerable people.

“That is the perfect example because it is something we are seeing across Donegal and rural Ireland generally.”

Antóin moved home to Machaire Rabhartaigh after living in Dublin for many years. But relocating to Liverpool has opened a world of opportunity he probably would never have been able to access in Ireland.

“I’m loving it because I was in a bit of a rut before I moved,” he said.

“I applied for this and didn’t think I had a chance of getting it. But 100 per-cent it was the right move.

“There are so few opportunities in Ireland where here there are opportunities every day.

“I only wish I had done it earlier.”

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