Matthew Wolfenden has heaped praise on Joe-Warren Plant for the way he's dealt with his "Emmerdale" grooming storyline.
The soap star - who plays David Metcalfe on the ITV show - opened up on the 17-year-old actor's performances as young Jacob Gallagher, who has been groomed by Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein).
Matthew, 39, said: "I'm very proud of Joe-Warren. It's incredible that he's been put up for Best Young Performer at the Soap Awards, which I think he deserves more than anything.
"I've been with Joe now since he was 7 years old, when he first auditioned for the show. I've seen him grow up into somebody who's nearly a foot taller than me, which is very annoying!
"He's just blossomed within this storyline. I know he's 17 now, but the show has given a child actor such a huge storyline. The way that he's gone about it - so professional and grown up - is incredible."
In scenes set to air next week, Maya will be arrested after David intervened when he was planning to escape with teenager Jacob.
However, the youngster doesn't accept that he was groomed and manipulated in the disturbed relationship, and it means there is much more to come from the storyline.
Matthew explained: "This is the start of the hard times for David and Jacob. The fact that Maya has been arrested is not the end of the storyline. I think it's the beginning of the next chapter.
"I don't know what's going to happen next, because as far as Jacob thinks, David has ruined his life. I don't know if he's ever going to come around to the fact that David hasn't. It's definitely not going to be a quick fix."