We've been lucky enough to be invited down to the Hollyoaks set quite a few times in the past, but there's been lots going on since our last visit - and the first big change could be seen as soon as we walked through the gate: the new sixth form college that we've been hearing so much about!
With most of the teenage characters now starting at the sixth form, there's been refurbishments indoors and out to create the new setting. Take a look at our pictures of the college's exterior below:
Indoors, the sets that were previously used for the Hollyoaks High School scenes have now been transformed into the sixth form college interiors. There's a common room for the gang to hang out in, and lots of blue corridors with motivational-themed words painted on the walls!
Hollyoaks Community College also remains on set, but the student halls have had a new lick of paint with darker colours in time for the new term. More on what's coming up at HCC later…
Running through Later and beyond, the Silas plot looks set to remain well and truly at the forefront of the soap and become a lot more intense. A promo video introduced by Emma showed clips of Ethan looking sickened as he found the next body in the woods, while we also saw Brendan really starting to challenge Silas with a taunting: "You think you're bad? I'm bad!"
There was also an amazing scene which seemed to show Cheryl pushed to breaking point over Lynsey's suspicions - in tears and screaming at her friend as she continued to doubt the nurse's reliability. Quite why Cheryl was so irate was a mystery, though.
If that wasn't bad enough for poor Lynsey, we were also given a sneak peek at her forthcoming showdown with Silas in the woods. In the clips, Silas continued to play his innocent act - telling his nemesis how sorry he was about her state of confusion and wondering what he could do to help. We then saw him move to attack Lynsey just as the promo cut to black…
However, Warren also appeared to know about Carl's dirty little secret by this point and, with his own plan under way, he was seen turning nasty with Doug - pinning him against a wall and threatening him in a bid to keep him quiet.
Along with the arrival of the new sixth formers, there's also a new batch of Freshers heading to Hollyoaks Community College later this month. Five new regulars will be the focus of our attention - perfectionist PR student Annalise and her long-term boyfriend Rob, laid-back geezer Scott, aristocrat Barney - who's at HCC under sufferance as his parents want him to experience the real world - and finally wild party girl Ash.
Emma explained that the soap's team are working hard to create a more realistic portrayal of university life through the new characters, so we'll see how they seem like fish out of water at times as they adjust to their new lifestyle and the struggles it brings. However, judging by the promo we were shown for the new arrivals, there'll be plenty of fun and parties too!
Other bits and pieces from the day:
§ The unseen promos we were shown for the Silas plot, Costello wedding and new Freshers will be released online in due course.
§ Emmett (who now has a beard as part of a mystery storyline) told his fans that he has no current plans to leave the soap, and he's really excited about material that's due to air over the coming weeks.
§ All of the other cast were lovely too, but special mention has to go to the new Freshers, sixth form favourite Lucy Dixon (Tilly), Stephanie Davis (Sinead), Alex Fletcher (Diane) and Claire Cooper (Jacqui) who all chatted to Digital Spy.
§ New boss Emma was really welcoming and enthusiastic over what's to come in the next few months.
§ Hollyoaks bosses are looking to do lots more online in the coming months, using the internet not just for publicity but as an extension of the show itself with extra features and bonus bits.
§ Hollyoaks now has a new stylist - so perhaps some of the characters will be getting new looks…
§ Hollyoaks' new band Daytona Lights performed an acoustic set for us and were really good! It'll be interesting to see how they fit into the show.
§ Burger bar Relish is no more and a new set is taking its place! No official word on what the new set is, but our money's on the new coffee shop we heard about earlier this year.
§ Hollie-Jay Bowes was seen in clips with the new Freshers, so it looks like Hollyoaks Later won't be the last we see of Michaela McQueen.
§ Ethan's days as a single man could soon be over, despite his new reputation as a shameless three-timer! Who will he woo this time?
§ Fake priest Father Francis will be back following his jaunt in Las Vegas.
§ Finally, Bart's attempts to win back Sinead will continue, leading up to "the grandest of grand gestures" and "the most spectacular Hollyoaks event yet" in November.
Are you looking forward to what's ahead for Hollyoaks? Share your thoughts via the usual box below!