Hollyoaks promises surprises for first trans character played by a trans person

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The first ever trans actor to play a trans character in Hollyoaks has said there will be surprises in store.

Annie Wallace, who plays Sally St Claire, the head of Hollyoaks High, is the first trans actor to play a trans character in the soap.

Annie Wallace2

Hollyoaks revealed that she was cast hours after Eastenders revealed Riley Carter Millington would be the first trans actor to play a trans character, Kyle.

Those in charge of Hollyoaks have suggested Sally could have an ulterior motive for coming to the village.

Speaking to All Out radio, Wallace said: “Like most soaps, you get a six-month contract and they extend it as and when. But I’m in for quite a bit next year. We do have a few big surprises hopefully next year – so you’ll just have to watch!

“Hollyoaks originally wanted to just bring me in as a teacher and let people go,’Is she trans or isn’t she?’, because I look a certain way and it’s fine.”

She added: “But what happened was that EastEnders put out their big press release about Riley Millington. It was the week before my press release was about to be released, so our press office went, ‘We better make sure people know about Annie as well’. We announced it within 24 hours of each other.

“At the moment in Hollyoaks, I’m just the strict new headmistress – but things will unfold, as things unfold in the world of continuing drama.”

Additionally, Wallace said the storyline featuring trans character Blessing Chambers, was the first step to Sally as a character.

She said a long process of workshops and auditions ensued.

Of Chambers, Wallace said: “She came in as a very bubbly character and a few months later it was revealed that she was a young trans woman. She was played by an actress, Modupe Adeyeye, who did it very well – but there was kind of a collective sigh from the trans community going, ‘Again? Couldn’t you have tried to get a trans actress?’

“It’s largely a case that they don’t know any trans actresses, so Hollyoaks got involved with a group called All About Trans. A series of workshops were created where they got about 30 people together in Liverpool. They weren’t just looking for one person – they were looking for an acting pool to see who’s out there.”

It comes after Paris Lees broke the news, writing in the Guardian: “Hollyoaks is set to introduce its first continuing transgender character later this month, a teacher, played by Annie Wallace.

“Wallace, too, is trans, although Hollyoaks – which quietly had Rebecca Root on the show in a non-trans role earlier this year – isn’t making a song and dance about it.

“Wallace has been acting on British television for the past five years in what we call ‘stealth’ – keeping your mouth shut about your transition. She felt she had to. In 2015 she’s changed her mind.”

It’s the latest in a string of LGBT plots on the soap – which recently set a storyline around a ‘Hollypride’ pride event.