How do you think Loretta's developed since you made your transition from last year's Later to the 6.30pm show?
"It took a little while and until now, we've known little about her. Nobody in the village knows who she is or where she's come from. She's just planted herself in the village knowing hardly anybody. She's quite a mysterious character. I'm absolutely loving the opportunity to explore her backstory."
What was your reaction when you heard about what Loretta's done in her past?
"I was like, 'Oh my gosh!' I was so shocked but absolutely chuffed to bits because this is what all actors want – something massive like this to sink my teeth into. I feel so privileged that they've trusted me with this story. I know they've wanted to do it for a while and they've finally chosen me!"
Why is Loretta being so edgy and non-committal about her relationship with Jake?
"Because of her past, she finds it very difficult to commit to being in a relationship with anyone. It obviously means that she'd be lying to whoever she's with because she can't tell them the truth. When she starts falling for someone - like she is doing with Jake - she gets out of it as quick as she can. That's why she didn't make an effort to get back with Dom. With Jake, it's a little different because she really understands him and what he's been through. She believes that he deserves forgiveness and a second chance."
A lot of viewers are confused over why Loretta was writing to him while he was in hospital…
"Basically, Hannah wrote one letter to Jake and he responded. Because Loretta was living in Nancy's flat with her and Hannah, Loretta read the letter and felt that Jake deserved another opportunity in life. She started writing back to him from then because she totally understands where she's coming from. It's almost a meeting of minds."
Loretta's past comes back to haunt her in the form of her old friend Chrissy - why does she appear in the village? And what do we learn about Loretta?
"Loretta and Chrissy were best, best friends through childhood. They were closer than sisters. She somehow tracks Loretta down and turns up out of the blue after Loretta's finished a dance class. What we learn is that when they were 12, they bullied a 12-year-old girl and didn't stop until they killed her. They kept pushing and pushing and eventually killed her. Since then, Loretta and Chrissy have been completely separated from each other, their families and friends. They've spent years in institutions having psychiatric and behavioural treatment."
How did Loretta end up in Hollyoaks, then?
"She was sent back out into the world with a new identity – she was called Joanna Norman when she was younger!"
Why has Chrissy tracked Loretta down?
"Chrissy ended up falling in love with someone after she was released from her institute and she fell pregnant. She ended up miscarrying the baby and her husband walked out on her. Chrissy's a desperate woman when she turns up in Hollyoaks looking for her old best friend - the only person in the world who really understands her."
How does the week end with Loretta?
"Loretta's so threatened by Chrissy being there and knowing where she is that she has to get out of it. This whole new life that Loretta's made for herself in Hollyoaks - he new friends, her new job, her new boyfriend – is under threat by Chrissy being there. While Loretta and Jake are having a meal in Il Gnosh, Chrissy even turns up there and starts introducing herself to everyone. All Chrissy has to do is call Loretta by her old name, Joanna and that's it - she'll have to start all over again. To get away from it all, Loretta disappears on a bus…"
Will we ever see Loretta's family?
"Not that I know of. All I've been told is that every time her family's mentioned, Loretta clams up. She's not seen her family since the incident, so they've either disowned her or she's been kept away from them. She doesn't have anyone in her life. Loretta's managed to move on with her life and put the past behind her, which is why Chrissy's arrival is such a threat to Loretta."
Is there a lot more to know about Loretta's past?
"Chrissy's return is only the beginning, but by the end of the week when Chrissy's returned, she's disappeared and Loretta's bolted… It's only a matter of time before their paths cross again, but to what lengths will Chrissy go to get her best friend back?"