It’s a story that has horrified Emmerdale viewers, teacher Maya Stepney’s seduction of stepson Jacob, one of her pupils.
Some have complained to the broadcasting watchdog about the grooming but show bosses have insisted justice will be done.
Louisa Clein, who plays Maya, is right behind such calls for the teacher to be punished. And she’s told iN10 how meeting young victims and those who try and help them left her shocked but ultimately reassured.
“When I joined the show just over a year ago I knew that’s where they were going to take the character,” said Louisa, 39.
“It’s been a slow build and that makes it more subtle and therefore more manipulative.
“I think Maya gained the audience’s trust at the beginning as a teacher, a doctor’s wife.
“Now they are shocked by the story and finding it very difficult.
“But I take that as a compliment that we are telling the story correctly because it shouldn’t be an easy watch.”
ITV have worked closely with Barnardo’s throughout to ensure the story about the seemingly respectable older woman and the vulnerable 15-year-old boy had the ring of truth.
As part of that, Maya met with young boys who had been victims of abuse and also Barnardo’s staff and social workers.
“When you hear of grooming you think of nasty, dirty old men but it happens in many ways and people are suffering and are damaged for life.
“What stuck with me most is how much the social workers are helping people.
“They go way beyond their job description and become saviours in people’s lives.
“It was extremely humbling and I came away with hope because there are people like that out there.”
Louisa admits that she doesn’t know the exact details of how things will unfold but she knows what must happen to her character.
“When I get the scripts I’m always very keen to see how things will develop.
“It’s got to be done in a sensitive, honest way and the time has to be taken to do it right.
“I think we all know that there has to be a retribution for her and it’s just how that comes about.”
Louisa says it’s been a whirlwind year that’s brought her so much as an actress but she has had personal circumstances to deal with, too.
She has three children – two girls and a boy, six and under – with husband Jeremy Brier. They live in London and filming Emmerdale, a two-and-a-half hour train journey away in Leeds, has taken some coordinating.
“I’m commuting so it has been a challenging year,” admits Louisa. “I’m constantly trying to find the right balance.
“If I’m not filming in an afternoon I’ll go home, give the kids their baths and put them to bed with a kiss goodnight then jump on a train back up to Leeds.
“Emmerdale have been really good in accommodating major events like my son starting nursery a few weeks ago.
“They made sure I was there to take him along for the first few days and just be mum for a bit.
“I also want my children to see me work. I think it’s important to have that strong work ethic.”
Acting has always been Louisa’s passion and she went to the Drama Centre in London with Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender, both of whom have gone on to major Hollywood fame.
“I follow their careers and if ever I were to bump into them we’d have a right laugh about it all,” Louisa smiles.
“The drama school we all went to was small and intimate and all the years mixed together.”
Louisa’s husband Jeremy is a barrister and part-time judge and there’s quite a crossover between the legal and acting worlds, particularly through Louisa’s pal, Benedict Cumberbatch.
“Ben and I worked together at the Almeida Theatre and we’re still very good friends,” explained Louisa.
“I was working on Judge John Deed and he introduced me to a good friend of his Rob Rinder (Judge Rinder), who subsequently introduced me to my husband.
“Ben officiated at Rob’s wedding, Rob was best man at Ben’s wedding and best man at our wedding. And my husband was best man at Rob’s – they’re all inter-connected!”
Louisa turns 40 this July and far from being a birthday to dread, she’s more than embracing it.
“There’s an amazing feeling at the moment that women in their 40s aren’t forgotten anymore.
“We are no longer just cast as the dowdy wife or grandma. We are getting parts that are written for strong, middle-aged women. So I actually feel quite excited about it.
“I haven’t achieved all that I want to when I look back, but I feel pretty happy at what I’ve done.
“I spent a lot of time in my 20s feeling very nervous about turning 30 but now that I’m hitting 40 I feel quite calm about it.”
Emmerdale picked up the Best Soap gong at this year’s National Television Awards and Louisa says she couldn’t be prouder both to be part of a show held in such high regard and one tackling such controversial topics.
“The actors are the faces that represent Emmerdale but it’s a well-oiled machine and it deserves every accolade it gets,” she adds.
Emmerdale, ITV, Mon to Thursday.