Coronation Street boss explains aftermath of Seb and Nina attack

Justin Harp, Sophie Dainty
·5-min read

Coronation Street spoilers follow.

Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod has confirmed the long-term aftermath to Seb and Nina's attack story.

Tonight's episode (May 5) will feature harrowing scenes as Corey Brent (Maximus Evans) and his gang target Nina Lucas (Mollie Gallagher) and Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) in a vile hate crime.

The episode is loosely inspired by the real-life murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007, and has been conceived in consultation with Sophie's mother Sylvia and The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

In advance of tonight's double bill, MacLeod spoke about how his team used a horrendous real-life story as inspiration for Nina and Seb's tragic night.

"A couple of years ago, a story of this type was floating around the writers' room and it just felt like it was something that really needed to be told," he told Digital Spy and other media. "It felt like it was something that sits very well in the soap genre and albeit we don't set out to change the world. We can be quite an agenda-setting genre and it felt like the message of the story around tolerance and inclusion and the need for more of that more so now than ever was incredibly pressing.

"In fact as far back as the introduction as Nina, we knew this was the direction that the story was going to take, so it all began with the death of Roy's mother some years ago now and it sort of led to the point where we brought Nina in specifically with a view of embedding her in the show and viewers to get to know her and fall in love with her and understand her relationships with everyone on the street and Roy.

Photo credit: Jeff Spicer / Stringer - Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeff Spicer / Stringer - Getty Images

"We embedded her as deeply into the show as we possibly could with a view of doing this story with her at a point where we thought it would be really powerful with a character we'd fallen in love over a number of years, being in the middle of something so heartbreaking and tragic and visceral.

"It just felt like a really impactful way of telling this story, which as I say we felt it was incredibly important. Some people clearly talk more from their personal experiences but we all feel very acutely that this is a story that still needs telling. The world is not cured from intolerance, far from it, so it felt like a very powerful and important story for our audience."

As a result of the attack, both Nina and Seb will be rushed to the hospital with serious injuries – while Corey tries to rally Kelly, Summer, Asha and others to back up his lies to police.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

"It draws in lots of different families and in the best tradition of Coronation Street storytelling pits neighbour against neighbour and in some case husband against spouse, all of those interesting areas of conflict," MacLeod explained.

"It becomes partly about class going forward, I mean I can't say too much about that but in terms of how the criminal investigation unfolds it becomes about class and background and privilege. There are interesting elements that we draw into the story as it unfolds.

"At its core we wanted it to be a story about showing horrific intolerance that can face people purely on the basis of what they look like, or what music they might listen to or what subculture they might identify with and that is the core of the story until the finish line. It is a story about intolerance and the reaction to that of all of the protagonists is the texture of the story and the substance of the plot going forward.

Photo credit: Joseph Scanlon - ITV
Photo credit: Joseph Scanlon - ITV

"All I'd say is how incredibly grateful we were to have Sylvia's input on the story. I hope what we put on screen does justice to Sylvia's own story and I hope it does cause people to sit back and think at how they view people and perhaps how they might make snap judgements based on essentially secondary characteristics. It's the human being that matters not what they look like and if we can achieve that I'd be incredibly pleased. I hope the story is thought-provoking and successful."

MacLeod also spoke about the ways The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was able to advise on keeping the storyline authentic.

"Incredibly important, not at least because we wanted to make sure it had some authenticity and Nina's presentation was right and the way we played the story after tomorrow night was right," the producer told us.

Photo credit: ITV
Photo credit: ITV

"It was apparent that the foundation does a lot of good work and it has an agenda that we want to get behind in terms of changing the way society deals with this kind of intolerance. It enabled us to not only tell a really good story but hopefully change people's preconceptions about alternative cultures and how society deals with the persecution of alternative cultures.

"Change the way crimes of this type are prosecuted. It was an incredibly humbling experience talking to Sylvia, but also very heartening that we might be able to effect some positive change as a result of working together."

Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV, with occasional Friday episodes airing for one-hour blocks at 7.30pm.

Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Coronation Street has worked on the current storyline alongside The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was set up to challenge prejudices and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures, and extend UK hate crime legislation, following the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007.

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