Talia Grant praises Hollyoaks' support
2 April 2019 - 1:00 PM

Talia Grant praises Hollyoaks' support

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Talia Grant says "Hollyoaks" bosses have been incredibly supportive of her needs as an actress with autism.

The 17-year-old star became the first female actress who is autistic to land a mainstream role on British TV after joining the cast of the Channel 4 soap as teenager Brooke Hathaway - who also has autism - last summer, and she has opened up about the lengths the team have gone to make her feel safe and comfortable.

Speaking to "BBC Breakfast", she said: "I told them what I need and things I might struggle with. They were just open to make adjustments for me.

"So for example, I have my room where I can just go and be by myself. If I need 10 minutes, they'll give me 10 minutes off set if I'm getting a bit overwhelmed or I just need a break or some fresh air, I can go into my room and I can relax."

Talia is also grateful for the opportunity to represent people with the developmental disability on the show, after growing up feeling like she didn't see anyone similar to her on TV.

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She explained: "For me, growing up and not seeing myself represented kind of made me feel like, "What is wrong with me?" Or there is no one out there who is really like me. I can be around as many people as I want, but if I didn't really see that on a screen when I watch TV it's like I'm not being recognised and my voice is kind of, not a voice."

While the show's casting director Peter Hunt felt that it was important to represent "women of that age group with autism", the programme's executive producer Bryan Kirkwood admitted it's important the character isn't defined by her disability.

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He added: "The response to Talia was instant. She's really identifiable, she's really relatable.

"She's not the autistic character, she's a clever, bright and ambitious young girl, who wants what everybody wants. The fact that she's got the added element of her autism just makes her even more fascinating but no less relatable."

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