Jacob Gallagher lashes out after developing a crush on Maya Stepney – dad David’s new girlfriend. Actress Louisa Clein talks about her new storyline in Emmerdale.
Jacob Gallagher (Joe-Warren Plant) has always seemed such a level-headed lad despite having David Metcalfe as a dad. But next week, Jacob starts acting out of character and there’s only one explanation – Maya Stepney (Louisa Clein)!
It starts when Maya gets a telling off from headteacher Jessie Grant (Sandra Marvin) for giving Noah Dingle a lift to school, not realising it is breaking school safeguarding rules. When he hears Maya’s got in trouble, Jacob pushes Noah at the bus stop and soon Leanna Cavanagh is telling Jessie that Jacob attacked Noah over Maya.
When Leyla Harding (Roxy Shahidi) tries to convince Maya how much David cares about her, Maya and David kiss and make up and she agrees to move in again – which doesn’t go down well with Leanna who angrily confronts Maya. An angry Maya lashes out at her but Jacob tries to act as peacemaker.
Maya thanks Jacob for defending her against Leanna and as Maya snuggles up to David on the sofa, Jacob starts to realise he has feelings for her.
“Maya enjoys the adoration of all then men in her life, and I think she needs that attention and love,” explains Louisa. “But I think that she’s probably not aware at this stage that Jacob has started to develop feelings for her.
“As far as Maya is concerned, she has moved back in with the man she really likes, and suddenly the stepson is accepting her into his world and it all looks very good. She’s gone from a really destructive relationship with Dr Cavanagh and a really angry stepdaughter – who did everything she could to cause trouble for her – to a reality that is much happier.”
The storyline comes after lots of Emmerdale fans have speculated about Maya’s character – even predicting she’s going to be the new village villain.
“There is still a lot to explore with this character,” Louisa tells Inside Soap magazine. “Maya hints later on down the line that she has slightly dysfunctional parents, or certainly a mother figure that is lacking – which has created more of a desire in Maya to be adored and needed. There are things in her past that have created the person she is now.
“As an actress it’s always fun to play a character that is ambiguous, and I like that people are having these ideas. It means that they are investing in the character and taking an interest. Whether they like her or don’t like her doesn’t matter – it’s always nice to provoke opinion in one’s audience.
“It’s always interesting to play a strong woman who has a complex story, for sure. I think that the viewers are going to have a big reaction to Maya. She is going to prompt discussion!”