After one of the rockiest courtships in recent soap history, Josh West and Dani Sutherland are now the hottest young couple in Summer Bay. With their model good looks and vibrant personalities, they appear to be ideally suited to one another. And the attraction is not just superficial. By the close of episodes screening this week, both will have exchanged the " L' word. Yes, we're taking about love - not an expression teenagers take very lightly!
But despite this progress, Josh and Dani will have a tough battle ahead if they want to keep their relationship on track. Recently, Dani confessed to Josh that she had been sexually assaulted last year by fellow student Kane Phillips [ Sam Atwell ]. While Josh understands Dani's reluctance to take their relationship to a physical level, the issue will continue to plague them in weeks to come.
TV Week spoke to actors Daniel Collopy and Tammin Sursok, who say their characters have what it takes to go the distance. " Dani was worried about telling Josh about the assault in case it affected their relationship "' Tammin explains. " In the end she had no choice but to tell him, because they were both involved in the sleep-over at Summer Bay High and Dani freaked out at the prospect of being alone with him. Josh was actually very supportive, which made her feel better about getting it out in the open ".
" Josh is sensible about it "' Daniel adds. " He's not angry at her and he doesn't see her as being dirty or anything like that. He looks at her as someone who's had a bad experience and he needs to be there for her ". The revelation actually brought the couple closer to the point where Dani admitted for the first time that she loved Josh. While Josh did not repay the compliment, viewers will be happy that he finally reciprocates this week " There wasn't a specific reason why Josh didn't say he loved her at the time, other than that it didn't feel right for him "' Daniel reveals. " But for him the right moment happens when he invites Dani over to dinner ".
The intimate dinner which takes place in Josh's caravan also leads back to the question of whether they're ready to take the next step in their relationship. According to Tammin, Dani's plans for the evening prove more difficult in practice. " Dani knows the dinner could lead to something more and decides that she is ready to sleep with Josh "', Tammin says. " But when she's in the moment all the memories of Kane come flooding back. She decides that she can't go through with it ". Dani worries that Josh will be upset when in fact he's more concerned that he's pushed her into doing something she's not ready to do. " Josh says that it's not an issue but of course it is ", Daniel explains. " Unfortunately it's just one of those situations that's hard to put aside because it's always there in their heads ".
While Josh and Dani have a tough road to travel, Daniel and Tammin say their main priority is developing a screen chemistry and ensuring the romance is believable for viewers. In order to do this, they have formed their own ideas about why the pair are attracted to each other. " Josh is actually everything Dani wants in a boyfriend, even though it took her quite a while to realise it ", Tammin says. " At first she saw him as a rich kid and judged him on that. But as time's gone on and she's had the chance to meet his parents, Dani realises that he's not a snob and is actually a really nice guy. " Also Josh is very different to her last boyfriend Will. Josh is not a boy's boy - he's a lot more sensitive. He keeps a lot inside, but is very sweet at the same time, Will was very blokey and I think Dani has moved on from that ".
Daniel believes that Josh sees Dani as an equal rather than as a trophy girlfriend. " There's a whole chemical connection between them ", Daniel explains. " Josh likes the fact she's headstrong and has an opinion. As it develops, she's continuously putting up intellectual barriers. She's a smart girl and he enjoys the mental challenge ". " It's definitely the real thing ", Tammin says. " I can see why they'd be attracted to each other and I'm sure they can handle whatever challenges lie ahead ". Perhaps the main reason the couple have struck a chord with viewers is that Tammin and Daniel also share a strong camaraderie in real life.
" Tammin and I clicked straightaway - we work really, really well together ", Daniel says. " We enjoy our scenes together and savour them and I think that comes across on screen ". " Dan is great fun ", Tammin adds. " We're such close friends and I love him to death. I wouldn't want to be with anyone else on the show. We feel very comfortable with each other ". But exactly how comfortable is that? Could it be the screen romance has crept into real life? The question earns a laugh from the pair. " I don't think those boundaries have been crossed - yet ", teases Tammin.