Coronation Street spoilers follow.
Coronation Street boss Iain MacLeod has revealed that the Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin attack storyline has been planned for years as they felt it was "something that really needed to be told".
The soap will air harrowing scenes tonight (May 5) that sees Nina and Seb targeted by Corey Brent and his gang in a hate crime, with the two rushed to hospital with serious injuries.
Opening up to Digital Spy and other media about devising the storyline, MacLeod explained: "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.
"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 lead 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," he continued.
"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 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."
MacLeod went on to open up about deciding to attach Nina to Roy Cropper, admitting: "We really wanted to make it somebody that was connected to Roy, he in his relationship to Hayley was exposed to quite a lot of intolerance as well, so it felt like he was somebody who had the right level of life experience to be Nina's guide through this romantic phase of the story and into the more difficult phases to come.
"It felt like Roy's world views are really interesting and his protectiveness of Nina, who is his one remaining family member. So attaching her to Roy was a very deliberate stepping stone in telling this story."
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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