Television soap opera Hollyoaks is to feature a storyline dealing with the issue of homophobic bullying.

The plot, one of several extra-dramatic storylines to celebrate the soap’s 18th year on air, will feature long-time gay character John Paul McQueen, now a teacher.

Hollyoaks boss Bryan Kirkwood spoke to Inside Soap to reveal that JP would become embroiled in an affair with married man Danny Lomax.

Kirkwood said: “JP has made mistakes with this relationship and they’ve spilled over into school life. We’ll be telling quite a serious story about homophobic bullying. Those mistakes will come back to haunt him.”

In celebration of the 18th birthday year, Hollyoaks bosses have said that seven characters will be killed off. There is specualation that John Paul, alongside gay character Ste, played by Kieron Richardson, could be among those killed.

The trailer for the Autumn season of Hollyoaks is available to view below.