Carley Stenson has been hailed as an “ultimate” member of the Hollyoaks cast.

The 28-year-old actress – who has played Steph Cunningham in the Channel 4 soap for 11 years – is the longest serving female member of the cast but is leaving the show in November to star alongside Sheridan Smith in Legally Blonde the Musical in London’s West End.

Jorgie Porter, who plays Theresa McQueen said: “She was like an ultimate original. I used to watch her before I was in it and think ‘oh my god she’s hilarious’. And then to meet her, she’s the nicest girl ever and good luck to her, for the stuff she’s doing, ’cause she’ll keep working.”

Gemma Merna – who plays Carmel Valentine – agreed, saying: “She was Hollyoaks.”

She revealed the actress is going to leave a big gap behind now she has left the show.

She said: “I think everyone was very emotional. We had a charity do at Chester race course and she sang and everyone was saying she was going.

“Everyone was getting all welled up then because she is honestly one of the nicest girls you could ever meet.

“She’s a big part of our working environment, everyone was devastated.”

Jorgie added: “Even the crew and the staff were all like that and everyone came to her leaving party in fancy dress.”

Terminally ill Steph is part of a big cliffhanger storyline in November when she runs into a burning building to save Amy Barnes and her children.

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