James Sutton has seen his Hollyoaks character John Paul McQueen go through some emotional experiences, but he says he’s been supported by fans all the way.

John Paul came out as gay on the soap over a year ago, and since then he has been involved in some gripping storylines.

James, 25, said he’s enjoyed the challenge of playing John Paul, a role he’s about to give up: “It’s always exciting to be challenged as an actor and do something out of your own comfort zone.

“It was a role that really excited me and one that I think I’m quite proud of, I think I did a really good job,” he said. “I’ve had lots of really nice letters and messages, which is really lovely.”

Hollyoaks has been tackling some topical issues in the last couple of years, including eating disorders, teenage pregnancy and incest.

James said he believes the show has a duty to address controversial subjects: “Hollyoaks has got a responsibility to its audience to not shy away from anything and to give people a view of things, and to be tackled on different subjects like coming out and sexuality.

“If we can help people along the way and offer people a view that this sort of thing goes on all the time then that’s brilliant, that’s kind of our job,” he said.