Hollyoaks actress Anna Shaffer has admitted that her close friendship with co-star Jazmine Franks off screen is useful – as she can be even meaner to her onscreen.

Viewers have seen Anna’s character Ruby Button making life a misery for Jazmine’s character Esther Bloom – but while she may be bullying her on the show, their real-life relationship couldn’t be more different.

“It’s actually a bonus that we are such good friends because you can go for it,” Anna revealed.

“A while ago I had to slap her across the face and she was going, ‘Go on, just do it’, whereas if we didn’t like each other in real life there’s no way she would have let me slap her across the face!”

However Anna admitted there was a downside to the recent Hollyoaks storylines, which have culminated in Esther attempting suicide – with some viewers berating her for her behaviour.

I’ve had quite a lot of backlash on Twitter for example, but I think you have to take it in your stride because if people genuinely believe you’re a nasty person then you’re doing the right job – because that’s the character I have to portray,” Anna admitted.

“It’s not that nice and it is a bit repetitive when people go ‘Stop being mean to Esther’ in the street but it’s all part of the job and you just have to take it in your stride.

“Hopefully in coming weeks Ruby will redeem herself because she does feel so bad about what she’s done.”