Pendle actress Jessica Forrest in explosive ‘Hollyoaks’ exit

Her emotional final scenes as Hollyoaks’ bubbly blonde Leanne Holiday were aired this week.

Jessica Forrest
Jessica Forrest

And now Colne star Jessica Forrest has spoken out about her time on the hit Channel 4 soap and what it is has been like to be thrown into the limelight.

The former Burnley Youth Theatre member was a drama and film student at the University of Manchester when she was selected from thousands of hopefuls to play Leanne.

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Three years later, she has just played a major part in Hollyoaks’ 18th anniversary celebrations – being the last of five characters to die as a result of a shock explosion.

For Jessica, her time on the show has seen her develop not just as an actress, but as a woman, and has been the most memorable experience of her life.

The 23-year-old, who went to Nelson and Colne College, said: “I have watched Hollyoaks since I was younger, and so to be a part of that was great. I couldn’t have wished for a better experience.

“I have literally met some of my best friends on there. The social side has been amazing, and the working side has been such an experience as well.

“When I first started I was 19 and had braces on my teeth, and now I am 23, so I did a lot of growing up on the show.

“All of a sudden I was moving to Liverpool, living with people I didn’t know, and working on a TV set – I had to learn really quickly. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I didn’t know what anything was, but now I feel so comfortable on set.

“I watched my first appearance at the 18th birthday party, and it felt like I was watching a different person – it was mental. Leanne was an absolute nightmare and she was always causing trouble, but I loved her.”

Having shot her death scenes back in August, former Fisher More RC High School student Jessica has since played a small part in upcoming Sky comedy The Cruise.

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Set in Burnley, it is expected that the show, which stars Rawtenstall’s Jane Horrocks, will air at Christmas.

And while Jessica is sad that her Hollyoaks’ character will not be able to make a return, she is pleased to have been given such a memorable exit and is now hopeful of staying within the television industry.

She added: “I have done really well out of the 18th birthday storyline. Obviously it means I can’t come back – unless I come back as a ghost – but every actress wants a good exit.

“I really enjoy the industry – anything from presenting, to interviewing, to filming. I have learnt so much since being on Hollyoaks.”