Hollyoaks actress Nikki Sanderson has revealed she has to be around people after a day playing Maxine Minniver to help shake off her unhappy character.

The bubbly soap star’s alter-ego has gone from being outgoing to downtrodden, after becoming trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with teacher Patrick Blake (Jeremy Sheffield).

Nikki admitted: “Sometimes it’s hard because you’ve been in that frame of mind all day. But I’m lucky that I’m quite a chirpy, happy person in real life. It’s much easier to get out of the character when you’re around other people having a laugh and a joke, than it is if you go straight home on your own, and you’re sat in the car.

“But I am quite a happy person, I do tend to come out of it quite easily. It’s a horrible mindset to be in and unfortunately some people are really living in that mindset. At least I get down time to become Nikki again.”

The actress said Maxine, who used to be quite a comedy character in Hollyoaks, has completely changed, and is a shell of her former self.

Nikki said: “Maxine was a very lively, feisty, adventurous, independent young woman, everything she wanted to do she just did it. She was really happy.

“And the way Patrick has manipulated her she’s a completely different person. She’s a shell of her former self. She might look the same, but she’s definitely not the same person any more. She’s hollow, there’s nothing inside any more, just fear.”