Exclusive: 'Oaks reveals final 'Desperately Seeking' trio
From the 1,700 applicants uploaded to the show's official website, 25 were invited to attend the soap's production house Lime Pictures in Liverpool.
The 24 who turned up were put through their paces in an intense day of script read-throughs and auditions for the role of new student India.
Current cast members Ricky Whittle (Calvin Valentine), Georgie Porter (Theresa McQueen) and Gemma Merna (Carmel Valentine) were all on-hand to help throughout the day.
Hollyoaks' casting and production departments had the tough task of whittling the original group down to nine, before knocking the smaller group to six and eventually announcing the finalists.
The final three facing an agonising wait until the weekend are Sophie Louise Craig, Brooke India Burfitt-Dons and Beth Kingston.
At the weekend, the trio will appear on T4, where the winning auditionee will be announced. Hollyoaks' new student will then be whisked back to Liverpool on the Monday, before starting to film her first scenes on the Wednesday.
Speaking of the Desperately Seeking search, series producer Lucy Allan said: "The Desperately Seeking competition has been a great success, giving us the opportunity to see a real mix of talent. The audition day itself was a long and tiring one for the girls but they all did brilliantly and any of our final three could be our India."
Producer Henry Swindell, added: "It's been a long couple of weeks. I've had a few sleepless nights as I watched every single video - all 1,700 of them - which meant that I had one night where I think I fell asleep at 4am! The videos showcased a massive breadth of the nation, in terms of quality and ability and likewise with the auditions… It's been really tough. We've had a really interesting bunch."
(L-R: Brooke India Burfitt-Dons, Ricky Whittle, Sophie Louise Craig and Beth Kingston)
> Click here to see individual head shots of the final three