WHEN 14-year-old Matt Littler attended an audition for Hollyoaks, he couldn't possibly have known what the future had in store.

For despite originally being turned down for the part, Matt soon made a name for himself as one of the cheekiest and most popular characters in the teen soap.

The past 11 years have seen Matt grow up on-screen and tackle storylines including caring for his brother, battling against his evil wife, and his antics with best friend OB.

His character, Max, has had plenty of ups and downs which have kept viewers hooked and mean he will leave a big gap when his final scenes are broadcast on June 27.

Speaking during a break in his final week of filming, Matt (26) said: "I like Max and think he's a nice chap. The public will always call me Max, but it is the end of something for me. It will be nice to close the door and move on.

"I have grown up in front of the cameras though and it is quite hard to leave."

A former pupil of Lowercroft Primary School and Elton High School, Matt grew up in Starling and started acting at the age of four. He appeared in school plays and amateur dramatic performances, before training as an actor with the Oldham Theatre Workshop.

He now spends his time between Liverpool, where the show is filmed, and his parents' home in Radcliffe.

He went to an audition for Hollyoaks in 1997, when the producers wanted to re-cast the role of Max, who had been played by Ben Sheriff since the show started in 1995.

He was originally turned down for the part, but his agent contacted the show and asked them to reconsider.

The character of Max has been a central figure in the show ever since, with some extremely difficult storylines.

He has seen his sister die of leukaemia, his stepbrother commit suicide, his father and stepmother die in a car crash, and his stepsister admit that she was sexually abused by her father.

He has also been involved with a range of businesses, suffered a heart attack, and been accused of trying to murder his wife.

Matt says that some of his favourite storylines have been his most recent, primarily his work with Max's current fiancee, Stephanie Dean (Carley Stenson), and his evil ex-wife, Clare Devine (Gemma Bissix).

While mystery surrounds the circumstances of Max's departure from the village, fans are told to expect "a heart-wrenching rollercoaster ride".

It is the day of his wedding to Stephanie Dean, but doubts creep in as Max prepares to walk down the aisle.

His best friend OB tries to convince Max to go on one last adventure, he suffers chest paints, and has an unlikely love rival in the form of Niall Rafferty (Barry Sloane).

Whatever happens, it will have repercussions for the whole village, especially his younger brother, Tom (Ellis Hollins), who is cared for by Max.

Matt said: "I have been filming my final scenes, but I can't really say how I go out of the show. It is very exciting though."

Alongside Max in many of the Hollyoaks storylines has been Sam "OB" O'Brien, played by Darren Jon Jeffries.

The pair experienced many moments of comedy and heartbreak together, and were always looking for their next adventure or business opportunity.

It is the time spent working together on set that has led to Matt forming a real friendship with Darren.

The pair decided that they wanted to leave Hollyoaks at the same time, but producers asked Matt to stay a bit longer to have two big exits.

Darren left the show in February, when OB moved to London with his girlfriend, Summer Shaw, but is expected to return for Max's departure.

The pair were even given an award for the best on screen partnership' at the Soap Awards earlier this month.

Matt said: "I wouldn't change a second of my time at Hollyoaks and working with Darren Jon Jeffries has been amazing - ever second of it! Me and Darren are looking at working together again. There is a lot of interest in us presenting together."

And while Matt has no firm plans in place for when he leaves Hollyoaks, he certainly has lots to be getting on with. He will be auditioning for more acting work and continuing to forge a career behind the camera. He runs his own production company, Rollcamera, which makes short films and music videos. Kidnap, a short film he directed and wrote, recently won the title of best international thriller' at the prestigious International New York Film and Video Festival.

Matt said: "I went to New York and had a week there seeing all the films. It was great to be out there and working. It is nice to be one the other side of the camera, but I like acting as well. Directing is something that I really enjoy. I want to see how far I can take Rollcamera."

But whatever happens to Matt, it is clear that he will always have fond memories of his time in Hollyoaks.

"I feel that I have grown up on Hollyoaks over the past 11 years and I'm not only leaving behind friends, but also family. It has been ace to work there and I have met some people who have totally changed my life. There have been good times and bad times, but I wouldn't change a second of it," he said.