Louisa Clein

Emmerdale's Maya Stepney makes a surprise return at the Inside Soap Awards

Actress Louisa Clein left Emmerdale in June

Aisha Nozari

Emmerdale actress Louisa Clein made a surprise red carpet appearance at the Inside Soap Awards on Monday night where she picked up two awards for her portrayal of the emotionally manipulative teacher, Maya Stepney. Speaking to Irish News, 40-year-old Louisa spoke of her often hard-to-watch storyline's importance, saying: "We were very conscious of the responsibility we had to highlight this style of grooming. The word grooming often evokes dirty old men and vulnerable girls."

The soap star continued: "We decided to tell the story of a respectable middle-class woman in a position of responsibility, who takes advantage of a secure, happy boy. And how he can’t quite understand his vulnerability and subsequently his abuse. We had that responsibility."

Louisa Clein has played Maya on the soap since 2018

Maya made her final Emmerdale appearance back in June following one of the soap's most emotionally taxing storylines to date. Maya Stepney, a schoolteacher, had been grooming pupil Jacob Gallagher over a series of months and in May show producer Kate Brooks explained the decision to write Maya out of the show, telling Metro: "We’ve got a responsibility. A lot of people watch the show, a lot of teenagers watch the show, and also we would never just tell one of these stories lightly, we have a duty to make sure the right protocol is carried out, and the right outcome." 

MORE: Emmerdale's Michelle Hardwick reveals the surprise guests at her wedding

Louisa picked up two awards on Monday night 

MORE: Inside the Emmerdale stars' fabulous homes away from the Dales

The manipulative school teacher was sentenced to a year in prison, however, 15-year-old pupil Jacob has since struggled to accept that his former teacher was abusive, misinterpreting her predatory behaviour for true love.

Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

More on: