It’s never exactly quiet for Hollyoaks’ damaged diva Sienna Blake, but the last 12 months have been especially tumultuous: from losing lover Trevor Royle, through taking the blame for disturbed daughter Nico murdering her evil dad Patrick, to then dealing with Nico herself dying in a fire, and finally falling pregnant by local gangster Warren Fox.
No wonder fans have voted to shortlist Anna Passey as one of the final five in the best actress category at this year’s British Soap Awards, acknowledging her range of sensational storylines for one of Hollyoaks’ most unpredictable characters.
In an exclusive interview, we caught up with Passey to reflect on her blockbuster year, her hopes of Hollyoaks’ success at the Soap Awards, and what’s in store for Sienna over the summer…
How does it feel to be in the shortlist for best actress?
As it’s voted for by people who love the show it’s very special, but it does make it more difficult as the other shows have bigger numbers. But Hollyoaks has a very loyal fanbase, and I won Best Villain in 2014 which was a public vote, and we won best soap that year, so our fans are a force to be reckoned with…
What have been your highlights from the past year?
Nico’s death in Halloween week is the big one. The Sienna/Nico struggle had been going on for so long, and she’d already lost her dad and Trevor so to lose her daughter was unlike anything else. Sienna was always driven by being a mum and protecting her kid. That and the scenes on the hospital roof in the aftermath with Mercedes, Jen Metcalfe and I agreed it was some of the best writing we’ve ever had for our characters.
Why have Sienna and Warren caught the viewers’ imagination?
Sienna had got to a point where everyone was dead or gone, and even I started to think what’s left for this character, and in walks Warren Fox. Warren has done some bad things but the fans still root for him and want things to go his way – Sienna is the same. When you put two such dysfunctional characters together you’ve got fireworks and you never quite know who’s going to come out on top, which makes it exciting. No one else understands them like the other. I feel like they’ve always been together.
How does it feel filming with a baby bump now Sienna is pregnant with twins?
The first time I had it on I was doing a scene where Sienna had a scare for the babies’ welfare. I was trying to find a way to connect with this wad of foam around my belly to get the emotion so I gave them names in my head! The boy is Mark, named after Sienna’s twin brother, and the girl is Maisie, because I think it’s nice when twins have the same name. This is all me though, nothing to do with the writers… It makes me sound as strange as Sienna!
Some fans think Nico could still be alive as we never saw a body…
Well this is Hollyoaks and anything could happen. Didn’t Warren die once?! But I’d also remind people we’re not allowed to show a dead body on screen in our time slot, so maybe don’t read too much into it… But can you imagine if that happened? Nico could emerge 20 years later like the Terminator walking out of the fire. That would be excellent.
What else is coming up for Sienna?
No one is expecting these babies to just spring out and all be well, so expect drama with the kids. We’ve seen that Warren is planning on taking the kids away and claiming Sienna’s not stable as a mum – how dare he! Sienna finds out his plan and she’s devastated, having just covered up a murder for him. And the audience knows you don’t get between Sienna Blake and baby so she won’t give those kids up without a fight.
Who would Sienna cheat on Warren with?
James Nightingale – he might be gay, but she wouldn’t care about that. I’d love to seem together as Greg Finnegan who plays him is brilliant and James is a great character. I’ve only had a handful of scenes with Greg and we always have a laugh as he’s so funny. I love the possibility of them being friends, getting up to mischief.
Who could tempt Warren?
The worst insult would be if he had an affair with Nancy! She and Sienna still hate it each other, it would be Nancy’s ultimate revenge all these years after the Darren thing if she slept with Warren.
What’s the best thing about working with Jamie Lomas?
He really cares about the work. We’ve both protective of our characters, he knows Warren inside out and always wants the best for the scene. And he brings me cupcakes sometimes. Danny Mac and Jeremy Sheffield never did that!
Finally, why does Hollyoaks deserve to win best soap?
They’ve accomplished so much great storytelling. Jade and Alfie’s teenage cancer story was handled beautifully and very moving – to achieve one thing like that in a year is amazing, but they did that and so much more. It’s been such a strong year.
The British Soap Awards 2017 will be broadcast live on ITV on Saturday 3 June – click here to cast your vote.
Hollyoaks continues weeknights on E4 at 7pm and on Channel 4 at 6.30pm.