Since turning up in Hollyoaks last November, it’s been a baptism of fire for Anna Passey.
Her character, Sienna Blake, may look sweet and innocent - but on the inside, things are far uglier.
She’s been revealed as the twin sister of Dodger Savage (Danny Mac), then attempted to pay him off to stay away, while she blackmailed residents Texas Longford and Will Savage.
But it’s poor Nancy Osborne (Jessica Fox) who’s suffering most. Back-stabbing Sienna’s stolen her husband Darren (Ashley Taylor Dawson) and poisoned everyone against her by making it look like she’s still addicted to painkillers – meaning Darren’s taken their baby, Oscar, away from her.
One of the most dramatic scenes was when Sienna, now pregnant with Darren’s baby, breastfed Oscar, but being part of such a huge storyline has been thrilling for Passey, 28.
“I’m so lucky to have come in and been given this big storyline.
"Both Ashley and Jess keep saying this is the biggest storyline they’ve had so far, so to be put right in the middle of that is really great,” says the actress, who’d only had a handful of small jobs before landing her big break in Hollyoaks.
Baddies are best
Being cast as a baddie has been a blessing. “I really do believe with soap it’s best to be in for a penny, in for a pound, so I figure if I’m going to be a bad character I might as well go the whole hog and be a really, really bad character.
“There are a few times when I read scenes and go ‘Oh, my gosh’, then it hits home that I’m the person who has to actually go and do those things!
"I felt that way with the breastfeeding scene, I thought ‘Wow, that’s brilliant TV’, and then remembered it’s me that had to do it!
“But baddies are the best parts.”
What’s quite surprising is there are lots of fans who don’t seem to care that it’s all made up - they get really angry!"
Sienna’s soon set to show her vulnerable side though, when she mistakenly thinks Darren’s proposing to her – in fact he’s just helping out his dad, Jack , who wants to renew his vows with Frankie.
Sienna jumps in first, saying of course she’ll marry Darren.
“It was absolutely humiliating,” says Passey of filming the scenes. “It was quite funny because we were having a good old laugh, then we looked around and saw that the crew were all cringing.
“Darren is married to Nancy, they’re just separated. I think it takes him very much by surprise that Sienna thinks they’re in that place already.”
After realising her mistake, Passey explains that mortified Sienna runs outside: “She starts to have a little panic attack and Darren comes out and sees her grabbing onto her stomach, so she’s rushed to hospital and everybody thinks she might lose the baby.”
Figure of hate
Soap newbie Passey admits getting used to fans’ reactions has been weird – especially since her character is so fiercely disliked.
“Obviously, they’re meant to hate Sienna, because she’s stormed right in and is wrecking everything,” says the actress. “Just as people are starting to feel sorry for her, she goes and does something else.
“This is my first soap so I didn’t quite realise how into it people get, and what’s quite surprising is there are lots of people who don’t seem to care that it’s all made up - they get really angry!”
Passey says she’s had some angry Tweets from fans thinking that she is Sienna.
“For the most part people do realise that this is supposed to be a soap villain,” she adds. “And I get lots of really lovely messages saying, ‘You’re the most hated soap character ever and you’re doing such a great job with it’.”
Passey’s also had to get used to the hectic demands of filming.
“I’m surprised at how much it’s taken over my life,” she admits.
“It’s a bit of a rollercoaster, really fast paced and fun. It’s all great experience and I’m really loving it.”
Hollyoaks continues on Channel 4, Monday to Friday.