Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Sunday, 11 October 2009 16:39 UK

Council makes 20,000 soap opera

Bob Geldof
Bob Geldof's company is running the Kent TV channel

A 10-part soap opera dealing with hard-hitting issues and aimed at teenagers has been made by Kent County Council (KCC) at a cost of £20,000.

The Hollyoaks-style weekly series, called Hollywould, follows the life of a student called Holly and can be seen on the council website from Wednesday.

Issues covered include drink spiking, sexual health, and personal safety.

The TaxPayers' Alliance said people would prefer to pay lower council tax than spend money on experimental drama.

Matthew Elliot, chief executive of the pressure group which campaigns for lower taxes, said: "I'm sure most taxpayers would rather their money was in their pocket in the form of lower council tax, especially in the middle of a recession.

It would be better to teach them about these issues in the classroom than try to be young and hip
Matthew Elliot

"Most young people will see through such blatant propaganda.

"It would be better to teach them about these issues in the classroom than try to be young and hip, reaching them by online television."

KCC cabinet member for public health and innovation, Alan Marsh, defended the move and said the series was a "truly innovative approach to communicating with Kent's young adults about really important issues".

He said the series had been written by Julie Wassmer, who had worked on EastEnders, and took four months to make.

The series begins with the main character, Holly, trying internet dating but viewers will be able to choose how the story develops by voting online after the first four episodes.

The council's on-demand internet TV channel, Kent TV, was launched in 2007.

It is run by Sir Bob Geldof's independent media company Ten Alps and has cost £1.2m so far, and received 2.2 million visits.



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