Coronation Street bosses aren’t ones to shy away from shock storylines. Michelle Connor’s dramatic stillbirth storyline had such an impact that it led to a real-life campaign for mother’s who have lost their children.
And at the other end of the spectrum who could forget the violent death scenes as Pat Phelan appears to kill Andy Carver? Now the soap’s storyline supremos have left audiences aghast once more after a child grooming plot-line involving 17-year-old Bethany Platt.
Now according to The Sun the story has sparked such outrage from viewing audiences that Ofcom is contemplating an investigation.
‘We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate,’ the regulatory body is reported to have said.
The shock relationship between Bethany Platt and Nathan
Bethany is in a relationship with a man almost twice her age – 35-year-old Nathan. Viewers have watched in disbelief as he showers her with gifts including a mobile phone and buys her alcohol.
On Wednesday night’s episode Nathan takes Bethany back to his flat for a party and the darker side of their relationship slowly emerges.
Prepping for the night Nathan encourages his younger girlfriend to:
“Wear that sexy dress I saw on your profile picture, you look gorgeous in that.”
Arriving at the flat, Bethany looks around and remarks “I just thought there’d be more girls here”. Nathan then introduces her to a male friend, who says he’d “like to see a bit more”. Nathan then replies: “I told you mate, it’s not the right time.”
Continuing he coolly says he’ll be “the first to know” when Bethany was “ready”.
Fans of the soap took to Twitter to express their surprise – and in some cases disgust – at the decision to play out these scenes on screen:
‘Surely #Corrie has to go post-watershed with this Bethany story-line, not for young viewing,’ one fan also posted.
A spokesman for the NSPCC – who have been working with producers on the storyline – told the BBC:
“Soaps play an important part in highlighting abuse and in giving victims the courage to speak out.
“We hope it will raise awareness of the signs of grooming and encourage more victims to come forward and seek help.”
Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardos – who have issued advice for those watching the storyline unfold in their Be Safe Guide – added:
“This storyline makes for difficult watching.
“But it’s important as many people as possible are aware of the signs of grooming, so we can prevent this abuse happening.
“Like Bethany’s character, the young victims of this crime mistakenly think these child sex abusers care for them because they’re often showered with presents and attention.”
Last month, actress Lucy Fallon – above – told Lorraine Kelly the scenes had been “uncomfortable” to film.
But, she added:
“It’s so important for it to be on, especially at this time, because we’re targeting young viewers watching before watershed – it’s so important to target those people.”
Coronation Street producer Kate Oates told the BBC:
“Bethany’s story has been crafted over many months, to create an awareness for viewers about the dangers of grooming.
“Bethany’s story is a challenging watch, but we hope it will encourage open discussion amongst friends and families about self-esteem, confidence. And most importantly, safety.”