Denise Welch rang the 'Hollyoaks' casting department to thank them for hiring Tom Benedict Knight as her on-screen lover.

Denise Welch

Denise Welch

The 62-year-old actress has joined the Channel 4 soap as Trish Minniver - the mum of Nikki Sanderson's character Maxine Minniver - and she was delighted when 44-year-old Tom was cast as her character's lover Brad, because she expected an older man to be in the role.

She said: "On Tom, I did phone the casting people and say well done.

"When they said I’d have a boyfriend, I thought they’d get someone who’d been in 'Dad’s Army'."

Denise admitted she and Tom "bonded quickly" on the show, despite the social distancing restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

She added to the Sunday Mirror newspaper: "I was delighted when I heard it was him.

"We bonded quickly, as much as you can during Covid filming. There’s great chemistry."

Last week, the 'Loose Women' panellist revealed her husband Lincoln Townley has been drafted in as a body double on 'Hollyoaks' to allow her to shoot intimate scenes amid the pandemic.

Denise joked Lincoln, 48, took one look at a picture of Tom and headed straight to the gym to tone up.

She said: "Because we're doing Covid filming we're not allowed to have any physical contact.

"They come out with the two-metre pole and it's all very strict, and we have to adhere to all these guidelines.

"So they've asked Lincoln if he will come in and be a body double, so he's never out of the gym.

"He saw a picture of Tom and he's never been out of the gym - and now the gyms are closed so he's out having a run as we speak."