EMMERDALE’s Louisa Clein has hinted that paedophile Maya will go to jail for abusing schoolboy Jacob.
The actress, who plays teacher Maya Stepney, admitted she’s pleased fans are horrified by the storyline but her character needs some form of retribution.
The 40-year-old star’s alter-ego has been grooming student Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) for weeks in a “horrific” plot, but she insists it is important for her character to get her comeuppance to show people that it’s not just “dirty old men” who abuse people.
She said: “The whole point of this storyline is to expose the fact that women can be abusers, and that young boys or young girls can see that there is some form of retribution, and if people come forward they will be listened to.
“And that just because this abuse storyline is not some dirty old man. Women can be abusers, and women in power, a teacher, a seemingly together, normal woman can also be an abuser.
“So I think the story has to have an ending people feel satisfied with and that there is some form of retribution, absolutely.”
While some viewers have been horrified by the story, Louisa admits the most important reaction to the plot has been receiving messages from viewers who have sought help after being abused in their own lives.
She said: “We’re having a real mixed reaction. People are, rightly, horrified by the story. I take it as a compliment in that people are buying into the story and believing it, and that’s what we want.
“I don’t want my character to be adored and sympathised with. I’m trying to find reasons, as an actor, why this character is doing what she’s doing.
“She’s an abuser and she should be treated that way. The audience reaction is what one would expect.
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“People are praising ‘Emmerdale’ for telling this story, and I’m getting a lot of private messages from people who are saying how much it has helped them to come out and talk about their private experiences and seek help, which is the only thing that matters. The most important thing.”
But the former Judge John Deed star admitted the overall reaction to the hard-hitting plot has been “mixed”.
She added: “We’re also getting people who hate it. They’ve watched Jacob’s character grow up on screen and feel protective over him.
“People invest their emotions into these characters on ‘Emmerdale’, so we’re getting mixed feelings.”
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