The 'Hollyoaks' cast have a host of medical professionals on set to help the cast deal with hard-hitting storylines.

Anna Passey at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards

Anna Passey at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards

Anna Passey has revealed there were therapists on hand if she needed any advice for her character Sienna Blake's cancer storyline, and she is pleased to see the British soaps' mental health storylines are finally being "recognised", but questioned why it has taken so long.

Speaking at the Virgin TV British Academy Television Awards at London's Royal Festival Hall on Sunday (13.05.18), Anna exclusively told BANG Showbiz: "We have a ton of support. We get it right from the very first stage of writing.

"There's always someone you can go and talk to. We have medical professionals working with us.

"With Sienna's cancer storyline we had someone from the get-go.

"I think it's something soaps have always been doing. I'm not sure why it's taken until now to recognise it.

"Soaps provide a little bit of British security but they have also been raising these issues for such a long time.

"They're in everybody's homes every evening. What better platform to be putting out these stories to start conversations."

Anna believes 'Hollyoaks' are in a "really privileged" position to spread positive messages to a younger audience, because the Channel 4 soap airs earlier than rivals 'Coronation Street', 'Emmerdale' and 'EastEnders'.

She added: "It's different for 'Hollyoaks' because we have a much younger audience, so in some respects we're in a really good position because if you can start these conversations with young people it might be helpful for later on in life.

"We're getting in there first as it were.

"I always thought when I first joined maybe one day we'll air later, but someone had to explain to me we don't want to be later. We're hitting our audience at that time.

"For us to be able to speak to young people, to students and people who are in their formative years that's a really privileged position to be in."