Tuesday 17 September 2019

Coronation Street announces historic child sexual abuse storyline

The soap’s producers have been working with Survivors Manchester on the script.

The Rovers Return Inn (ITV/PA)
The Rovers Return Inn (ITV/PA)

By Sherna Noah, PA Senior Entertainment Correspondent

Coronation Street viewers will witness the “devastating effects of historic child sexual abuse within a family” in a new storyline.

The soap’s producers and writers have been working with the charity Survivors Manchester on the script.

Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) will see her world “torn apart” when it is revealed that her twin brother Paul (Peter Ash) was sexually abused by their stepfather Kel (newcomer Joseph Alessi).

This story sensitively explores something that is tragically all too common Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod

The “heartbreaking story will explore Paul’s struggle to come to terms with what happened to him and his ultimate fight for justice”.

The ITV soap’s boss Iain MacLeod said he was “very proud of this story”.

He added: “Gemma and Paul’s family background has always been fascinating to me – the inseparable bond of twins but with a huge faultline down the middle, which we’ve hinted at but never explained.

“This story sensitively explores something that is tragically all too common in families in the real world and will highlight the way these painful events still reverberate many years later.

“It will, I hope, allow people who have survived similar abuse and perhaps suffered in silence to find their voice and speak up.”

The soap previously featured a male rape storyline, in which David Platt (Jack P Shepherd) was assaulted after his drink was spiked, which led to an increase in calls to Survivors Manchester.

Coronation Street actor Ash said he has been speaking to Duncan Craig, chief executive of the charity.

“His experience was really similar to Paul’s so it was invaluable for me to be able to talk about all the conflicting emotions and not accepting or realising it was abuse until later on in life,” he said.

Mr Craig from Survivors Manchester said: “This story is going to resonate with so many male survivors, I’m proud of Coronation Street for committing to making sure it’s right….

“I know this story will be difficult but as a survivor I have to say it is vital if we are to understand male sexual violence and abuse.”

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