Waterloo Road‘s Bex was filmed having sex by her ex-boyfriend, Hodge, and it ended up on the internet. And now her secret is out, as Tina O’Brien reveals…

How did Bex get into this situation?
“She fell in love with the wrong person, basically. She was only 16 and Hodge was her first love. She got carried away and found herself in a situation that grew out of control. She completely trusted Hodge and I don’t think she would have dreamt in a million years that anyone else would see the films.”

Hodge threatened to show the sex tape to Bex’s family – is that why she ran away?
“Yes. She didn’t want her family to know what she was doing. It was a great storyline because it wasn’t boring. Bex had a lot of inner turmoil going on, so as an actress it was a great part to play.”

Could you identify with Bex?
“I could imagine exactly how Bex would feel and how easy it is to get into that situation. She was a very outgoing young girl who fell in love with someone who was charming and persuasive.”

Do you think Hodge ever loved Bex?
“I hope that he loved her. When we were filming it I got the impression that he did. But he has a very warped sense of what love is and he didn’t give her the freedom to choose. He wanted everything his own way. With love, you have to let people make their own choices.”

What Hodge did is illegal, isn’t it?
“Yes, it is child abuse as Bex was only 16 at the time. It’s illegal to put images like that of anyone under 18 on the internet. Also, you should never blackmail someone to stay with you. You really see how manipulative his character is when he draws her younger sister Jess into the situation.”

Bex and Jess have a strong relationship. Did you and Lindsey Cocker, who plays Jess, become close?
“Yes, we got on really well, she is a lovely girl and a very talented actress. Lindsey is only a couple of years younger than me so we have a lot in common. We are still in touch, and she has just had a baby, so that is lovely news!”

How did you feel playing out this storyline?
“I really enjoyed it but you have to learn to switch off from it. You are just playing a part. What was great about working on Waterloo Road was that I had time to get an understanding of the character. The director spent a lot of time explaining the relationship between Bex and Hodge and how he was such an important part of her life. Whatever happened, there is obviously still a connection and it’s really hard for her to break that.”

What advice would you give a young girl who finds herself in Bex’s situation?
“I would tell her that no matter how embarrassing she finds the situation, tell a teacher, a friend or a parent as there are organisations that can help. The important thing is not to feel ashamed. Bex feels ashamed and it’s such a strong emotion, it stops her from speaking out. But there is nothing to be ashamed about.”

What are you working on next?
“I’ve only just finished the Strictly Come Dancing tour which I absolutely loved but now I’m looking forward to a rest. There are several projects in the pipeline but I want to be careful to choose the right one. In the meantime, I’m getting some really good quality time with my daughter Scarlett, which is lovely!”

Waterloo Road is on Wednesdays at 8pm on BBC1