Esther Bloom is a fictional character from the British Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Jazmine Franks. The character made her first on-screen appearance on 18 January 2011. Franks had previously auditioned for roles in the show. She did not think that she had secured the part of Esther and concentrated on her studies until she was informed. As an open lesbian, Esther is comfortable with her sexuality. Since her inception she has shared a friendship with the character Ruby Button (Anna Shaffer ) but has long been subjected to her "bitchy" comments. She is characterised as having a "selfless consideration for others" despite being a "proverbial punchbag" for many characters. Esther found confidence when she decided to pursue a fashion career. Franks has said that upon doing so Esther's style also changed.
Esther's first romance is with Tilly Evans (Lucy Dixon) and through them the serial depicted a same sex kiss. Their involvement ceased when Tilly chose to remain single. In 2012, a series of storylines focused around the character were devised. Esther wins an internship with Company magazine. Off-screen the magazine's staff noticed Esther's liking of fashion and contacted Hollyoaks with the storyline idea. The character was later given a storyline focusing on effects of bullying, in which Maddie Morrison (Scarlett Bowman), Sinead O'Connor (Stephanie Davis) and Ruby tease Esther. The bullying of Esther began to worsen and the production team set up a cross-over website titled DocYou to engage the audience with Esther's story.
"Forever in the shadows, Esther is loyal, self-effacing and kind. She’s endured years of being pushed around by Ruby and yet she remains tolerant and patient of all her best friend’s flightly fancies, offering sage advice and guidance along the way."—An E4.com reporter on Esther's personality. (2012)Esther is a lesbian and according to a writer from E4.com, Esther is comfortable with her sexuality. She forms a close friendship with fellow character Ruby Button (Anna Shaffer) but is "she often finds herself at the receiving end of Ruby's bitchy barbs". She eventually grows in confidence when she decides to follow a career in fashion. While another stated that Esther had long been the "proverbial punchbag" of many a Hollyoaks female. Esther is "overlooked and underloved" and is one of the serial's characters that do not get their chance in the "spotlight that they so deserve".She also has a "selfless consideration for others".
Franks told a columnist from Inside Soap that she was not into fashion like Esther is. Originlly Esther's attire consisted of "many pairs of jeans and oversized jumpers". Franks did not like her character's "awful" wardrobe because the jumpers made her feel as though she was wearing a "tent" and she had a particuluar dislike of Esther's recurring pink ugg boots. She noted that once Esther took an interest in a fashion career the opportunity to wear "lots of nice clothes" arose. In July 2012, Franks told Kilkelly that she did not want Esther to change because she loved how the writers had written her. She called her character "sure of herself" and noted that "she's not bothered that she stands out, she doesn't want to fit in with the sixth-formers". She was also pleased with the audience reaction to Esther, who had praised the character. Franks explained that "I think she is so real and she is like a normal teenager. She's average - she's not a cow, she's not overly nice, she's just normal and I think that's why people can relate to her a lot more."
Romance with Tilly EvansEdit
In one storyline Esther shares a holiday romance with Tilly Evans (Lucy Dixon) while they are in Abersoch. A promotional trailer which featured Esther was released to promote the Abersoch episodes. A Western Mail columnist said that it was a "coming-of-age trip". Esther and Tilly portray a lesbian kiss in the episodes and Dixon told a reporter from OK! that this was her first scene that she filmed with the show. Dixon had only known Franks for three hours and thought it was a unique way to join the show. The kiss was not racy because it decided that the two characters were still getting to know each other. Dixon said that she and Franks were relaxed and made it look "convincing". Tilly was later introduced as a regular character and Holly Thomas from theDaily Mail Esther would be "very happy" to see her former love interest arrive in the village. But they questioned if romance would survive given the "topsy turvy" nature of Hollyoaks. Dixon said that Tilly likes to "keep her options open" and was unlikely to immediately settle down with any girl. Hollyoaks later introduced a storyline which saw Esther become estranged from her friends. Tilly later begins a relationship with her teacher Jen Gilmore (Amy Downham) and Esther uncovers their affair. When Esther discusses it with Ruby and rumours spread. Franks told an Inside Soap columnist that Esther "feels guilty, even though she hasn't really done anything wrong". Esther decides to help Tilly out by pretending that she made up the rumours. Franks explained "it's awful though because everyone thinks Esther is a liar and they turn against her".
In June 2012, it was announced that Hollyoaks had entered a partnership with the fashion magazine Company for a storyline involving Esther and George Smith (Steven Roberts). The story arc sees them as new interns at the publications headquarters. The scenes are set in London and the editor, Victoria White cameos in their scenes. Esther and George face hardship in their attempts at independent living and she nearly ends her career by ruining a magazine feature. Paul Millar of Digital Spy also reported that Esther and George's friendship would also be "challenged in the special week" of episodes. The press department at Channel 4 revealed that Esther would take the "centre stage" during the storyline and added that it was "needless to say, fireworks ensue". Company's editor White told Digital Spy's Kilkelly that the brand approached Hollyoaks with the storyline idea. They had noticed that Esther talked about a fashion career and it was brought up in a brainstorming session. One of the staff said "wouldn't it be funny if Esther from Hollyoaks could come to do work experience at Company?" White said that Hollyoaks' producers "loved the idea" and asked White to play herself in the show. They then spent three to four months planning the storyline. Franks told Kilkelly that she found filming the storyline in London fun but tiring because of the demanding filming schedule. She was even required to run in high heel shoes around Carnaby Street while it rained. Franks also enjoyed the opportunity to work with Roberts in "a completely different environment".
Franks explained that a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity" that has been offered to Esther. She is both "pretty nervous" and "a little bit excited" about her internship, though happy that George accompanies her. Esther always struggles to fit in no matter what she does. True to form when Esther arrives at work over-dressed and wearing jewellery, big hair and make-up "she sticks out like a sore thumb". Franks revealed that Esther and George do not start any rivalry while at work. But jealousy builds as Esther attends a fashion shoot and George is sent to a style shoot. Even with themes of jealousy prevailing in the story, the actress opined that Esther and George formed a "great team". Roberts has said that George is just as grateful to have Esther on the internship because she gave him the courage. He added that the storyline was "the beginning of consolidating their friendship". Esther and George realise they share commanlities and "could be really good friends".
Esther manages to ruin her experience by wearing and tearing an item of clothing needed for a fashion shoot while on a night out. Esther is forced to tell the truth about her mistake. Franks stated that her character is unable to lie and even if she did she would be caught out. "She confesses everything and it doesn't go very well" and George is not impressed. He thinks "Oh, Esther, not again! You've messed something up again!'" Roberts added "Esther is still his friend, so while he's disappointed, he's not nasty about it." She highlighted that things going wrong for Esther had become an established trait. A trait that was portrayed once again as she attempts to offer relationship advice for George and fellow intern Ryan (George Evans) - "it usually backfires".White said that at the end of the week's episodes both Esther and George have "been on a positive journey".
In August 2012, show producer Emma Smithwick announced a "very big storyline" for Esther featuring "long-running bullying". She elaborated that Esther is "the voice of reason" and she wanted to explore "what happens when the popular kid at school, slowly but surely undermines Esther's sense of self". It features themes of "social manipulation and psychological bullying" and results in Esther feeling inadequate. She added that by October 2012 Esther would "hit a pretty big low", she would be lonely and in need of friends. When researching the storyline Franks met a victim of bullying which she said she found "so helpful - it has helped me a lot - but it was an awful story". Esther had previously been teased by Ruby and Sinead O'Connor (Stephanie Davis). They send Amy Barnes (Ashley Slanina-Davies) love letters addressed from Esther and fool her into thinking that transgender Jason Costello (Victoria Atkin) would date her.Franks later announced that the character Maddie Morrison (Scarlett Bowman) would orchestrate the bullying campaign.
When Jack learns that Esther has been truanting college they have an argument. A spokesperson for the show told Susan Hill from the Daily Star that "Jack is angry when he discovers Esther has been skiving from college. Esther is in no mood to be lectured and storms out, unaware of the critical situation she’s left behind." They added that the aftermath of the scenes make a "very emotional and tense time" for the Osborne family. Franks told a reporter from Inside Soap that Maddie starts rumours that Esther has a moustache because "Esther's not Maddie's favourite person since she tried to kiss her in Abersoch". Everyone believes Maddie because she is the "queen bee". But after she argues with Jack who then has a heart attack, Jack's son Darren Osborne (Ashley Taylor Dawson) blames Esther, believing the stress of their argument contributed to Jack's condition. Franks explained that "the guilt hits Esther like a train". But Maddie tries to convince Esther that she is not to blame. Everyone believes Maddie to be genuine, though Esther knows that she is faking. She is pushed to "breaking point" and punches Maddie in the face. Franks noted that "it's so out of character for Esther, but she ends up punching Maddie, it's her way of saying to everyone at sixth-form college" that she is not to be messed with.
But the bullying continued. As Carena Crawford from Reveal noted that Esther was having a "tough" time at college and "evil Maddie twists the knife in even further and ups her bullying antics". Esther accuses Phoebe Jackson (Mandip Gill) and the writer suggested that direction of the plot could see Esther could "end up friendless". Crawford later added that after another "horrendous week [and] suffering more humiliation at the hands of nasty Maddie" - she did not think that Esther's life would become "easier". Digital Spy announced that the bullying would intensify when Esther crashes a bike and reveals her underwear resulting in video footage being posted online.
While Maddie and Sinead bully Esther, her friend Ruby joins in and fails to protect Esther. Shaffer told Kilkelly that the story was a great one to be involved with because bullying is "an important issue". She felt that Ruby was not defending Esther because she wanted to be with "the cool kids". Ruby ultimately fears that her friendship with Esther will ruin her bond with Maddie and Sinead. Shaffer opined that Ruby acts "quite badly" and does not stand up to her friends. While Maddie and Sinead are being "bitchy and mean" to Esther, she felt that Ruby was worse because she is not preventing the bullying. The actress found it difficult to be mean to Franks character because they are good friends off-screen. But she noted that they had to remain professional and "get the job done". Kilkelly later revealed that Maddie would fool Esther into thinking she has made a new friend online. They make her think she has found a dead body and grab her from behind. Esther wets herself and the sixth formers record the event. In this part of the storyline Ruby feels guilty but as before she does not support Esther. Shaffer explained that Ruby goes along with their plan but is reluctant. But Ruby fails to prevent the prank and "Esther is really upset" and the bullying continues.
In October 2012, producers announced a "special online project" to run alongside Esther's storyline. When Dylan Shaw (Mikey Riddington-Smith) creates his own micro-blogging site DocYou other characters decide to misuse it to broadcast humiliating content about Esther. Hollyoaks had entered into partnership with Channel 4 Education and organisation Beatbullying to publish the website for real. The development offered viewers exclusive content and another way to connect with Esther's story. In addition it was created with the hope of highlighting the impact of social media on human life. A spokesperson stated that it would show how social media can be used as an extra way to bully another person. The cast offered their services to Beatbullying acting as mentors aiding bullying victims. Producer Bryan Kirkwood stated "I am really proud of this story and how it realistically approaches bullying, which is so relevant to our audience" and confirmed Esther's bullying would continue into the following year.
Esther breaks into Frankie (Helen Pearson) and Jack Osborne's (James McKenna) house and takes shleter in the attic. Tom Cunningham (Ellis Hollins) mistakes her for an intruder and knocks her unconscious with a cricket bat. Esther is taken to hospital and Jack tells the police that he hit her to protect Tom. Esther regains consciousness and tells Frankie that she is her granddaughter. She reveals that her father had died and she knew Frankie was his birth mother. Frankie realises that she is telling the truth and invites her to stay with them. When Jack and Gilly Roach (Anthony Quinlan) ask Esther to move out, she threatens to tell the police that Tom is responsible for hitting her. Tom then confesses to the police that he hit Esther. Tom is ordered to face court for his actions and Esther tries to defend his actions, but he is still found guilty. Esther, Ruby Button (Anna Shaffer) and Ricky Campbell (Ashley Margolis) truant from school and play kissing games, then Esther reveals that she is a lesbian. Ruby kisses Esther and Ricky to decide who is the best kisser. Duncan Button (Dean Aspen) develops feelings for Esther, unaware of her sexuality, so she rebuffs his advances.
Esther kisses Seth Costello (Miles Higson) as a joke, which humiliates him. Ruby films the kiss and uploads it to her website. Esther feels guilty and refuses kiss Seth again. She tells Ruby that she is in a relationship with Sinead. Ruby questions Sinead who laughs off Esther's lies, but forgives her. Ruby and Sinead make Esther think that Jason is interested in her. They set up a date between the pair, although Jason is unaware of Esther's interest. When she tells Jason that his transgender status would not effect a potential relationship, he reveals that he still likes men. Esther is humiliated and Jason accuses Ruby and Sinead of bullying Esther. Ruby writes a love letter to Amy and addresses it from Esther. After more pranks, Esther soon stands up to Ruby.
Esther goes to Abersoch and meets Tilly, who reveals that she is also a lesbian. The pair have a holiday romance and fall for each other quickly. When Tilly begins attending Hollyoaks Sixth Form College, Esther goes to see Tilly. She tells a heartbroken Esther that she does not want a relationship. Esther attends a night out at a local gay bar. Tilly tries to kiss Esther, which makes her angry and she tells Tilly that she will not be used. Esther agrees to be friends with her again. Esther accidently exposes Tilly's relationship with her teacher Jen and lies to get her out of trouble. Esther and George go to work for Company magazine for work experience. Esther makes a few mistakes but ends the week with a successful project. Esther tries to kiss Maddie who is not interested. Maddie starts bullying Esther when she discovers that Esther talked to Tilly about her private life. She truants college but when Jack confronts her she walks off, unaware that he has collapsed from an heart attack. She punches Maddie in the face when she goads her about Jack. Phoebe realises that Esther is being bullied and she attacks Maddie to defend Esther. Sinead and Ruby begin to join in on the bullying and Jen tries to help her out. Esther becomes increasingly lonely as the three girls play tricks on her. They post a video of Esther wetting herself online and more students mock Esther. When Maddie dies in a bus crash, Sinead and Ruby blame Esther. They intensify the bullying until Esther decides to take her own life. She drinks a bottle of vodka and with pills, but wakes up the next morning. Esther is hospitalised and has to have a liver transplant. Ruby confesses to bullying Esther, who tells the her bullies that she forgives them.
2011-2015: Esther separates a line of clothes and appears between them.
2015: Esther and Phoebe try on clothes.
2015-2016: Esther plays a video game with Frankie, Jack and Charlie on a sofa, she loses, she then smiles at the camera with a pixel in her hand.
2016-: Esther plays table football with Frankie, Jack and Charlie in a games room, she wins.
Jaci Stephen of the Daily Mail felt that Esther, Sinead and Ruby obtaining drugs was boring and quipped "the only drugs I need are sleeping pills to get me through this boredom." A writer fromMSN branded Esther a "budding fashion designer". In a poll created by E4, viewers voted Esther as the character most suitable for a lifelong best friend. A reporter from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner said that the Company magazine episodes were "a big week" for Esther. While a Liverpool Echo critic bemoaned Esther's "harsh words" resulting in Jack's heart attack, noting that the character had been through worse such as brankruptcy and prison time. All About Soap journalist Kerry Barrett said viewers should "watch out" for Franks amongst other cast members, who she felt "all act their socks off" during the Enjoy The Ride storyline