Hollyoaks star Ashley Taylor Dawson says the changes he’s gone through becoming a father mirror those of his character, Darren Osborne.

The former chancer and gambling addict has straightened out on Hollyoaks, largely due to becoming a father, and Ashley told What’s on TV ‘it’s funny how life imitates art and vice versa’.

Ashley, father of baby Mason and two-year-old Buddy with partner Karen McKay (pictured), said: “Having kids doesn’t slow you down, but it changes what’s important and generally just makes you a better person. You really get the best out of life and you realise what everything’s about and you do get out of life what you put in… Having kids makes everything a whole lot more important.”

The hours he works on Hollyoaks does have an impact on family life. “I don’t think anyone gets to spend enough time with their kids, but it’s about making what time you do have as crucial as possible because sometimes you get in from work and you’re say there and you’re ‘Oh please, just watch the TV’ and you’re like ‘No I have to do something!’ I think that’s just life, everyone has that and I have a great time with my kids.

“I’m very lucky to be in this position, to have a good job, to do what I enjoy and have two wonderful kids, so I can’t really moan much!”

You can vote Ashley and Hollyoaks in the British Soap Awards here.

Watch Ashley Taylor Dawson chat about the soap awards, Hollyoaks producer Bryan Kirkwood and a big scare looming for Darren: