Hollyoaks star Nikki Sanderson says she’s ‘like a kid in a sweet shop’ following her nomination as Best Actress at the British Soap Awards, her first nod in a 20-year acting career.

Nikki plays Maxine Minniver who is suffering domestic abuse at the hands of her older fiance, Patrick, played by Jeremy Sheffield, who also has a nomination in the Villain of the Year category.

Nikki told What’s on TV: “Jeremy and I are like kids in a sweetshop, we are so excited about it. When I was long-listed for Best Actress I thought, this is it, this is fantastic. Don’t get me wrong, it would be amazing if I could be short-listed, but in the back of my head, obviously there’s some fantastic people in this category and as much as I was ecstatic to be in the long list I didn’t acutally expect to get to the short list…

“So then when it was announced that Jeremy and I had got through to short list it was absolutely amazing. This is the first nomination I’ve had in my whole career, and I’ve been working 20 years, so to be given a nomination like this is fantastic!’

Part of Nikki’s storyline has involved in-depth research and work alongside women’s groups and she intends to carry on working with them long after the storyline ends.

She said: “Doing this and doing it for such a long time, you become involved in it emotionally and your heart becomes involved in it. I’ve met some phenomenal people along the way…

“When I went to the women’s refuge I was speaking to these wonderful, wonderful women and it was one of the most fantastic experiences, obviously in a weird way, but also the most heartbreaking, to hear these women… And I just think it would be weird if I finished the storyline and just went, ‘I’m not interested now’, because I’ve just got too involved. So definitely, I’d love to stay involved, helping in the future, with Women’s Aid and Rape Crisis and stuff if they need me to.”

You can vote for Nikki and Hollyoaks at the British Soap Awards website here.

Watch our chat with Hollyoaks’ Nikki Sanderson (Maxine Minniver):