Louisa Clein admits it has been "difficult" filming her kissing scenes with Joe-Warren Plant for their "Emmerdale" grooming storyline.
The 40-year-old star's alter ego, teacher Maya Stepney, has been grooming her 15-year-old student Jacob Gallagher - played by 16-year-old actor Joe-Warren Plant - for weeks with things developing to a full sexual relationship between the pair, despite Maya dating Jacob's stepdad David Metcalfe (Matthew Wolfenden).
Louisa admits it has awkward playing the character because of the intimacy that's been required between her and Joe-Warren but she has nothing but praise for her teenage co-star for the way he has handled the powerful plot.
Speaking to What's On TV, Louisa - who has worked with children's charity Barnardo's to research the part - said: "It is difficult, but Joe Warren-Plant is a joy to work with and he's so mature for his age. He's been on the show for such a long time and has been working with adults since he was eight years old, so he's very happy around adults. You wouldn't necessarily pin him as 16 when you met him.
"Of course it's awkward, but the scriptwriters are very sensitive to that, as are the directors and producers. We're all very conscious of not making it (the scenes) sexually titillating. Any form of intimacy doesn't need to be sexy. It's about the implied emotional intimacy, which is the creepy bit in a way.
"It's got to be that way. And Barnardo's were very happy when we told them the way we were going to play the story through."
Louisa also assured viewers of the ITV soap that the intention of the story is to indicate that such cases of grooming are wrong and insisted the relationship between the two characters is in no way a "beautiful, romantic story".
She explained: "I think they were nervous that it would be turned into a beautiful, romantic story, like, "If only they were nearer the same age..." But we were very clear that we want to tell the story that this is wrong and something that shouldn't be let go of. There needs to be some form of retribution."