It’s the end of an era in Hollyoaks tonight as Freddie Roscoe leaves the village forever – the final member of his family to bid farewell.

Following his brutal attack on Nick Savage as revenge for raping Ellie Nightingale, Freddie is facing a potential 12-year stretch behind bars due to his previous brushes with the law – of which there’s been a fair few since the Roscoes rocked up in Chester four years ago.

Freddie decides he has no choice but to flee and makes his last appearance on screen in this evening’s E4 episode, and actor Charlie Clapham promises it’s going to be emotional…

“It was an incredibly hard decision, but after four years I felt the time was right to hang up the leather jacket. I was excited to see how the writing team and the producers were going to have Freddie Roscoe sign out.

“Fortunately for Fred and me, we got to leave on somewhat heroic terms after Freddie took matters of Ellie’s attacker into his own hands – literally!”

Ellie plans to escape with her man and is fully prepared for life on the run, but at the last minute Freddie realises he can’t ask her to leave her family behind and the pair say an emotional goodbye – how does Clapham feel about Freddie going it alone in the end?

“I think he’s always been a lone ranger. Even when the rest of his family was around he rarely kept any of them close. I often found Freddie would put others before himself when the real danger came into play and would therefore find himself out on his own.

“So it was only right for him to leave on his own - with the help of his trusty half-brother Darren who drives him out of the village!”

Clapham arrived in 2013 when the rowdy Roscoes moved in to run the local garage – a gaggle of cockney grease monkeys headed up by matriarchal mum Sandy, the family of fitties were an instant hit.

Bad boy Freddie was the standout of the bunch, and quickly became embroiled in the local underworld setting off a series of exciting storylines involving gangsters, guns and girls – always lots of girls…

During his action-packed tenure, Freddie killed his stepdad Fraser Black, married his brother’s girlfriend Lindsey Butterfield who turned out to be a serial killer, was framed for murdering Mercedes McQueen who had actually faked her death, and in his final few months was at the centre of the much-talked about sexual consent storyline that saw his girlfriend Ellie Nightingale accuse Nick Savage of rape.

One by one, the Roscoes were dispatched – so how does Clapham feel about being the last one standing?

"I never thought it would be Freddie! It seems like yesterday we were all starting together. It’s only when the rest of the family leaves that you really appreciate how good it was when we were all together.

“Being here has been a magical whirlwind that I have thoroughly enjoyed, meeting and working with some lovely human beings. I’ve always received a lot of support from the fans too which is something I’ve never taken for granted. I consider myself very lucky to have felt that.”

Freddie fans should take heart from the fact he’s not been killed off – unlike unlucky on-screen siblings Ziggy and Joe, so there’s always a possibility of a return. And with regards to the still-living Roscoes, which one would Clapham choose to bring back if he could?

“Gillian Taylforth, who played Sandy. She was a true professional, a wonderful actress, a real friend an amazing all round TV mum. And if you asked any of the Roscoe boys I bet they’d say the same.”

Clapham has no regrets about his time on Hollyoaks and relished every second of bringing complicated, crazy Freddie to life, but admits there was one other character he always admired: “I really enjoyed working with Jesse Birdsall who played Fraser Black, Freddie’s stepfather. I learnt a lot from him and he played a pretty good part. If I could’ve been a different character on the show, it would’ve been fun to try that one.

“But that would mean I’d have ended up shooting myself, so it’s best I stuck to being Freddie!”

Hollyoaks continues weeknights on E4 at 7pm, and on Channel 4 at 6.30pm.