Emmerdale delivered a big surprise to viewers as evil Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein) returned, looking ready for a delivery of her own as it was revealed she is pregnant.
Viewers saw the manipulative ex-teacher released from jail on Tuesday 19th November, six months after being banged up for sending inappropriate text messages to former pupil Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) who she groomed into a sexual relationship, killing a call from her lovesick victim who is still under her spell and wanting to see her again.
The camera panned down to show Maya's baby bump as she left the prison gates, while desperate Jake left her a voicemail pleading for her to get in touch… Fans were suitably stunned at the twist, which raises numerous questions - some of which RadioTimes.com can shed some light on…
1. Is Maya coming back permanently?
We put this most burning of all queries to Emmerdale, who told us: "There continue to be no current plans for the character of Maya to return." While the show revealed ahead of transmission that Miss Stepney would be released, it was not confirmed if she would be seen on screen to ensure maximum shock value for the baby twist when it aired. So don't expect her to rock up at David's shop any time soon.
2. When did Louisa Clein film this secret scene?
In a neat piece of forward planning, Emmerdale shot the dialogue-free secret scene with Clein months ago to get it in the bag. "Louisa actually filmed that scene earlier this year while she was still with us," a show spokesperson told RadioTimes.com, so obviously the pregnancy was part of the plot's long game. Maya's last appearance was in late June, and with the soap filming around six weeks ahead this means last night's cameo was in the bag back in May! Clever.
3. Could David be the father?
Here's where it gets murky. Maya was engaged to David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden), who was oblivious to her sinister systematic grooming of his schoolboy son under his own roof. Maya's true predatory colours were revealed in late April during the 'big night out' episodes, so if she was still sleeping with David as things got physical with Jacob, which was also around this time, there could be a 'who's the daddy' element to this whole situation…
4. When is the baby due?
That we don't know, but she looked pretty far gone to us. Maya must have fallen pregnant around April or May, so she'd be due in January or February, meaning she's six to seven months gone now - which is possible considering the size of the bump. Here's a thought - soaps often plan big surprises around the National TV Awards to garner last-minute votes, and with the ceremony taking place on Tuesday 28th January 2020, could this coincide with the birth of the baby and the villagers finding out?
5. How will Jacob react to being rejected?
Not well. The distraught teen, unaware Maya is possibly carrying his child, throws himself at Leanna Cavanagh only to blank her afterwards. Feeling upset and used, the schoolgirl is forced to tell protective dad Liam the truth when he catches her throwing up from taking the morning after pill. Liam lashes out at Jakey, accusing him of taking advantage of his daughter, and punches him - only to get arrested for his outburst. Even from afar, Maya is still ruining lives…
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