Hollyoaks star Claire Cooper has decided to depart Chester after six years playing the part of Jacqui McQueen.

The 33-year-old star, who is set to quit the popular soap in April, has expressed a desire to pursue new projects.

"I have had the most incredible and unforgettable time at Hollyoaks. Jacqui McQueen has been a fascinating part to play and I have nothing but gratitude to Channel 4 and Hollyoaks for giving me the opportunity.

"I would especially like to thank [executive producer] Bryan Kirkwood, whom I adore and have nothing but respect and praise for.

"It's sad that I'm leaving when Hollyoaks is at such a high-point, especially with Bryan back at the helm, but it's the right time for me personally to explore other avenues and see what other stories I can tell.

"To my family, friends, colleagues and fans, thank you for your support - it's been one hell of a ride for Miss McQueen and an inspirational one for me."

You can catch Hollyoaks on C4 week nights at 6.30pm with a first look on E4 week nights at 7pm and weekend omnibuses across E4.