The aim was to assess outcome in a population-based cohort of adolescents with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) diagnosed in the UK's northern region over a 10-year period. Among a population of 3.09 million, 55 of 676 patients (8%) diagnosed with HL were aged 13–19. Seven had nodular lymphocyte-predominant HL, 48 classical HL (cHL). Of the latter, 36 were ⩾16 years. Application of the Scottish and Newcastle Lymphoma Group (SNLG) prognostic index meant 21 patients were considered high risk (index ⩾0.5). They received PVACEBOP multi-agent chemotherapy as primary therapy. Standard risk patients (SNLG index <0.5) were treated with standard ChlVPP or ABVD chemotherapy±radiotherapy. Scottish and Newcastle Lymphoma Group indexing is not valid for patients under 16. Twelve patients therefore received UKCCSG protocols ( n=8), ABVD plus radiotherapy ( n=2), or PVACEBOP ( n=2). Forty-six patients with cHL (96%) achieved complete remission. Seven patients relapsed but all entered complete remission after salvage therapy. Five patients died: three of HL, one in an accident and one of disseminated varicella complicating cystic fibrosis. Five- and 10-year overall survival was 93 and 86%, respectively; disease-specific survival was 95 and 92%. The data suggest that older adolescents with high-risk HL require intensive protocols as primary therapy to secure optimal outcome.