Neighbours spoilers follow.
Neighbours star Sharon Johal has admitted that she initially had doubts about Dipi Rebecchi's new affair plot.
This week's episodes on Channel 5 see Dipi share a surprise kiss with Pierce Greyson (Tim Robards), marking the beginning of a new long-running storyline.
Dipi has been growing closer to Pierce amid a crisis in her marriage to Shane (Nicholas Coghlan), who is battling a drug addiction.
Pierce's own marriage to Chloe (April Rose Pengilly) has also faced challenges due to the tragic loss of their baby and tensions surrounding newcomer Nicolette Stone (Charlotte Chimes).
Speaking exclusively to Digital Spy about the new plot, Sharon explained: "The producers have wanted to give me a big storyline for a while, so I knew something would be happening but I didn't know what it was going to be.
"They had hinted to me that the only way they can really give married women in the show big storylines is to make them infidelity-related.
"I challenged that, because I think there's a lot more you can explore, but with the soapy format that we have, that's the line that they've gone down and I respect that."
She continued: "I did find it hard when they pitched it to us. I thought: 'It just seems very uncharacteristic of Dipi to go down that path when she's been with the same dude for 20 years'.
"Dipi has got three kids and she's all about being honest and all about loving her man. So how in the world could this happen and why with Pierce? They didn't really have a friendship, they don't really have anything in common, so I wondered how it was going to work.
"Our lovely producer Jason Herbison said: 'Just trust me on this and we'll go down this path'."
Show bosses gave Dipi and Pierce's storyline a big build-up, with Shane's issues setting the stage for what was to come. Pierce was also seen repeatedly supporting Dipi through the crisis.
Sharon explained: "Shane has crashed and burned with the drug stuff and has broken Dipi's trust in a number of ways. There's a crisis of confidence in their relationship and Dipi wonders: 'Is my life about babying this guy, or am I interested in the guy who's always there, who's dependable and successful?'
"Pierce sees Dipi for who she is, as a woman, as opposed to her having to be a mother to this manchild. Because Shane and Dipi are always dealing with Shane's issues, they're not really connecting as an equal partnership.
"When Dipi is with Pierce, they're just so open and honest about their communication with each other. Pierce and Dipi are very grounded in those moments – together they find some sort of peace and serenity.
"The friendship is there and has been established, as they each go through crisis in their own marriages. The first kiss happens because Shane tells Dipi that she drove him to drugs, which is like a knife to the heart.
"Pierce and Dipi say that it shouldn't have happened and try to forget it, but it just doesn't work. There's something that is connecting them and binding them together and it just gets bigger and bigger. It becomes about sexual infidelity as well as the emotional connection."
Meanwhile, Digital Spy also recently chatted to Neighbours legend Alan Fletcher about his 26-year history as Karl Kennedy and future storylines. Hit 'play' below to hear it in our new Soap Scoop podcast:
Neighbours airs weekdays at 1.45pm and 5.30pm on Channel 5 (UK) and 6.30pm on 10 Peach (Australia).
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