Emmerdale viewers have had their fill of the soap’s grooming storyline between teacher Maya Stepney and 15-year-old Jacob Gallagher, with many complaining last night’s scene featuring the two characters kissing had them reaching for the sick bags.
Maya – who is dating Jacob’s dad David Metcalfe – pounced on the teen after he confessed to fibbing about being involved with Liv Flaherty to make her jealous.
Reassuring him with a hug, fans were horrified when Maya (played by Louisa Clein) then leaned in for a full-on snog with her pupil.
“You are a lovely, sensitive, mature young man and I am very flattered that you feel like that,” she told the confused teen in the moments leading up to the kiss.
Fans were not impressed with how the inappropriate relationship is continuing to unfold – and insisted the kiss had left them gagging.
“Actually makes me want to vom seeing Maya kiss Jacob,” tweeted one onlooker.
“Nah can’t keep watching this grooming storyline on emmerdale actual vomited when Maya kissed Jacob then,” (sic) said another viewer.
A third typed: “Was nearly physically sick watching this muck, had to leave the room! Finish this storyline asap, it’s vile!“
It is thought the twisted relationship may be exposed during Emmerdale’s festive episodes later this month.
An insider teased to the Radio Times: “There’ll be tension over the turkey as Jacob’s feelings for Maya create more sparks than a family-sized box of crackers.”
Meanwhile, soap bosses have been mindful to consult with survivors of sexual abuse, relevant charities and support experts over the dark storyline.
Producer Laura Shaw told Digital Spy: “It was important for us to tell this storyline authentically, so we approached Barnardo’s for advice on scripts and character behaviour.
“Our researchers, story team – along with actors Louisa, Matthew [Wolfenden, who plays David] and Joe-Warren [Plant, who plays Jacob] – met with Barnardo’s experts and young men who have been supported by the charity.
“We met some incredible individuals and were moved by their courage and willingness to help us tell this story sensitively. Hopefully it will make young people and their parents more aware of these issues and their impact.”
Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan added: “We were really pleased to be approached by Emmerdale to advise on the serious subject of adult women grooming and abusing boys. Too often this is seen as ‘taboo’ and not talked about.”
– Emmerdale airs weeknights at 7pm on ITV, with an extra episode at 8pm on Thursdays
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