There are days when it’s important to extend yourself. To boil up a chicken carcass to make proper stock for your risotto, or walk ten miles over barren moorland just to make your cheeks look ruddy. But then there are days when you’re bored of overachieving, and all you want to do is open a packet of Kettle Chips, sink into the sofa and watch the Hollyoaks omnibus.

We recommend having one of those days in April, when a mischievous new character called Alex will be introduced to the dark and mysterious world of Chester. Annie Cooper will play the part of this hottie, “a very sassy, sexy minx, who is an outrageous flirt and a lot of fun on a
night out. But whether or not she’d have you back, I’m not sure.”

Is she the kind of person who’d steal someone’s boyfriend?

“Maybe, I’m not telling.”

Is she the kind of person who’d say she was going to feed your cat then not bother to turn up?

“No, I think she’s reliable. I’m just saying she’s a good time girl, so I’m not sure you’d want her as your best friend. But I’ve got a lot of time for her.”

Annie Cooper leaning on a black wall

Cooper’s been acting since she enrolled in the Sylvia Young Theatre School aged ten. She was in the same year as Amy Winehouse, Matt Willis (from Busted) and Lee Ryan (from Blue), and was best friends with Billie Piper until the future Secret Diary Of A Call Girl star left to be a pop singer.

“I was a working actress at the same time as being at school,” says the Swedish-born, English-bred actress. “It was amazing. I’d be called out of science for a casting or miss class because I’d been sent to do an advert in South Africa.”

Adverts made up the bulk of Cooper’s early work. She was in one for Pringles with Kara Tointon (which, annoyingly, we can’t find on YouTube) and also promoted Bold washing powder, Kinder chocolate and Birds Eye fish fingers. “I was on Captain Birds Eye’s ship,” boasts the 27-year-old.

Annie Cooper standing by a window

“It’s always a bonus if I get to travel when I’m acting. I love the sun so anywhere hot and I’m there. But my home is my haven. I’ve got cats and a dog.”

How many cats?

“More than three cats, I’m not saying how many,” laughs the London-based lovely. “My rescue cat got pregnant and it got a little bit out of hand. I’m not a crazy cat person!”

We believe her, partly because we believe anything that pretty girls say, partly because she seems nice, and partly because if we don’t she might not show us one of her patented moves.

“I used to be a great gymnast when I was younger and can still back flip, do the splits three ways and do cartwheels,” smiles the actress, who has appeared in Skins, Doctors, The Bill, Coronation Street and Casualty. “I pull them out in the park, in the summer. They’re my party piece.”