Hollyoaks star Claire Cooper has revealed that the soap’s bosses begged her to stay on the show – even trying to tempt her with exciting storylines.

The 33-year-old, who plays Jacqui McQueen, is leaving the show after seven years – but revealed that the decision was not a popular one.

“Bless them, they offered me some wonderful things and I’m so flattered but I was just in a different head space and wanted to make a break,” Claire explained.

“I handed my notice in a year ago because you have to be respectful to the whole story and everyone involved.

“You can’t just go, ‘By the way I’m off’. It doesn’t work like that in soaps and I did feel a year ago that I’d explored where I wanted to go and wanted to wind her Jacqui down over the next year.”

However the actress did insist that Jacqui’s exit from Hollyoaks was a memorable one.

“I want her to remain formidable rather than become half the woman she was. I can’t let that happen to her,” she said.

“I’ve kept this woman who’s rough around the edges but with a golden heart and she always has to be this wild, chav-tastic little volatile ball of fun. I had to leave on a high.”