“No going back for Maya” teases Emmerdale’s Louisa Clein as grooming is exposed

Predatory teacher faces the music in life-changing plot twist

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Emmerdale‘s Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein) has groomed schoolboy Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) into a forbidden sexual relationship but now the game is finally up as their sick fling is discovered by a number of villagers while on a night out clubbing.

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In a special week of episodes dubbed ‘Big Night Out’ commencing Monday 22nd April that tells a story in two parts across two separate weeks, a group of locals head to a Hotten night club to let their hair down, resulting in a series of life-changing events for several characters. The twist is viewers will not know the full story of what happens during the evening, with flashbacks airing a fortnight later from Monday 6th May filling in the blanks.

One of the plot strands running through the night club narrative is Maya and Jacob being discovered by Tracy Metcalfe (Amy Walsh), Priya Kotecha (Fiona Wade) and Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi) – one of the girls is the first to catch them before telling the others, who then confront the calculating teacher. Louisa Clein tells RadioTimes.com about the turning point in the soap’s most talked-about plot of the year…

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What is Maya’s state of mind since Liv started blackmailing her and Jacob?
Maya is panicking and desperately trying to regain control and selfishly thinking how she can she protect herself. It’s the first time  she’s felt vulnerable and frightened.

How does she end up on the night out?
Maya’s really not up for going clubbing as she is preoccupied about finding the money to pay off Liv, but Leyla convinces her and David says they need a bit of fun. Jacob has stolen Val’s ring in order to sell it to raise Liv’s money, and everything escalates and lies are told that he’s in a bad place so Leyla and David send him off to Portugal to see his mother. Maya is lonely, lost and nervous and her future is quite precarious.

What happens at the club?
She is very distracted because doesn’t really want to be there, and has heard Val’s ring had gone missing because David was planning to propose, which makes her nervous. There’s an awkward moment when Maya blurts out she doesn’t want him to pop the question, ever! It’s brutal and painful for David who goes off to get drunk. As he’s pouring his heart out to Tracy, they have a drunken kiss which Maya sees.

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How does she react?
Obviously she has no moral high ground to stand on, and has felt some guilt for the way she’s treated David, but having compartmentalised the relationships with David and Jacob, Maya instinctively reacts with fury that David is cheating on her. A big row ensues, David skulks off and there is a real slanging match with Tracy. Leyla and Priya get involved and in the end, having had messages from Jacob saying he misses her, Maya storms out of the club.

What can you reveal about Maya and Jacob being caught by the girls?
The girls’ reaction once they all find out is complete and utter shock, then unbelievable fury. There is also the sense of guilt they have let Jacob down and been played by Maya. They start piecing together the previous months and suddenly it all fits. Each of them react in different ways but they all have their own personal agenda as to how they would like to deal with Maya.

Is Maya prepared for what might happen now she’s caught?
I don’t think so. She naively believed they could wait for Jacob to finish school, go public as a couple and say nothing happened whilst Maya was his teacher. They would live happily ever after and she thought that could work. Suddenly the reality triggers pure fear, panic and self-defence.

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So the game is up for Maya?
Being caught in this way means there is no going back – but it’s how she deals with that. Is she going to run away and hide? Is she going to confront it and try and defend herself? Will she get that opportunity?

What are her feelings for David and Jacob?
Maya’s emotions are complicated. Her feelings for David are very muted – she cares for him, but for whatever reason she can’t handle a challenging adult relationship. With Jacob, she thinks she loves him. Emotionally, and ironically, it seems more on her level. He adores her and doesn’t challenge her, he just boosts her and makes her feel great.

Have you enjoyed playing the grooming storyline?
It’s been intense. The last few weeks of build-up has been extraordinary. I have been unbelievably lucky in working with Amy, Roxy and Fiona on this part. We’ve all really looked out for each other over as we’ve been filming long and late into the night and there’s been quite a lot of physical stuff I’ve never had to do before. It’s been an enormous challenge and has not been easy!

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