Hollyoaks: Claire Cooper says she was ready to quit as Jacqui McQueen a year ago!

Newly departed Hollyoaks actress, Claire Cooper, has revealed that her decision to leave the hit Channel 4 soap was actually made a year ago!

Cooper, who has played the role of feisty Jacqui McQueen since 2006, announced her decision to leave the show last month before filming her final scenes a few days later. This came a month after her off-screen boyfriend, co-star Emmett J Scanlan, left the soap after two and a half years of playing the double hard double B moustached monster that is Brendan Brady.

However, despite everyone believing that Claire was following Emmett’s lead, it would seem that her decision to leave had been made for some time – a year to be precise!

Speaking to Inside Soap about her decision to stand down, Cooper explained:

“I handed in my notice over a year ago, but I’ve had to wait for certain things to play out on screen before I could go. Now [executive producer] Bryan Kirkwood is back and Hollyoaks is on top form again. It’s such an exciting time to be here – but I’m leaving!

“The great thing is that Bryan created the character of Jacqui, so now he gets to come up with her exit plot as well.”

On the subject of Jacqui’s final scenes, the actress teased:

“It’s really exciting – but that’s all I can say to you right now.”

The actress, whose character has been at the centre of some of the show’s most hard-hitting storylines during her time on the show including kidnap, rape and the recent epic Enjoy The Ride wedding day bus crash that claimed the life of her on-screen cheating husband, Rhys Ashworth, went on to say how she has treasured her time at the Lime Pictures soap:

“I’ve loved every minute of playing Jacqui McQueen – it’s been incredible. Usually when you’re in a soap, you play someone who’s quite similar to yourself. It’s been great for me to play someone who’s completely different from what I’m like in real life.”

Watch an interview with Claire and Emmett on This Morning in the clip below:

Hollyoaks can be seen weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4/ Channel 4 HD.