Theatre impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber has revealed how he planted his next stage star on Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

Summer Strallen joined the cast of Hollyoaks in October of last year, and in recent weeks viewers have seen her character, Summer Shaw, pursue her dream of West End stardom, even stalking Lord Lloyd Webber.

But, in reality, Lord Lloyd Webber had already cast Strallen as Maria in the Sound of Music six months ago.

She will replace Connie Fisher, who won the role on the BBC’s talent search How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?

Lord Lloyd Webber said he was approached with the idea before the BBC talent contests were broadcast.

Hollyoaks producer Tony Wood suggested blurring reality and fiction when he was working at Coronation Street.

He said: “I thought ‘do you know what, it’s never been done before and it’s funny’.”

Over the next month, viewers will watch Summer rehearse in the run-up to opening night on February 26, when she exits Hollyoaks and takes over from Fisher.

Lord Lloyd Webber appears in three episodes of the soap – but is not very confident of his own acting ability.

“I have an 11-year-old daughter who watches Hollyoaks with her friends, and she’s going to be very embarrassed,” he said.

Strallen has a performing background, having appeared in Cats, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Guys And Dolls.

Viewers will see the actress audition for Lord Lloyd Webber – and win the role – on Friday’s episode of Hollyoaks at 6.30pm on Channel 4.