Emmerdale star explains why the Maya grooming storyline took so long to end
"There were a lot of people on social media saying, 'I can't believe he hasn't noticed.'"
Emmerdale's Matthew Wolfenden has explained why the Maya/Jacob grooming storyline took so long to end.
The actor, who plays David Metcalfe in the ITV soap, says that he understands viewers frustrations with the storyline, but that ultimately he felt like it was a realistic portrayal of abuse.
"It has been a year of David being quite blinkered to the fact that this was going on behind his back," he told Digital Spy. "There were a lot of people on social media saying, 'I can't believe he hasn't noticed.'"
"But this is the whole point of this storyline. Children – both boys and girls – are being groomed and abused, and people don't notice. Teachers don't notice and parents don't notice – it happens.
"I know it has been an uncomfortable watch over the past year, but this is what goes on. I think the slow-burn of the story, and the fact that David hasn't noticed, has actually been very realistic."
The storyline came to a head a few weeks back when Maya was caught kissing Jacob during the Big Night Out.
She and the 16-year-old disappeared for a bit and upcoming scenes will see them attempt to escape the village for the last time. However, David intercepts them and is soon followed by the police who eventually arrest the paedophile.
Wolfenden said that the storyline has given him an insight into how many parents react when they discover that their child has been groomed.
He added that for many, they often blame themselves.
"Up until the last couple of weeks, David has been blind to the fact that this is happening. For me, it's been a real thought process of: 'How would you react to something like this?'" he said.
"I've got a nine-year-old son and I had to put myself back into my position – if God forbid this ever happened, how would you react?"