Coronation Street actor Harry Visinoni has given his reaction to shock scenes that saw his character Seb Franklin die from injuries sustained in a hate crime attack.
The assault on Seb and Nina Lucas (Mollie Gallagher) bore similarities to the real-life 2007 crime that resulted in goth teen Sophie Lancaster dying from head injuries after she and boyfriend Robert Maltby were set upon by a gang in a Lancashire park. And in order to ensure accuracy, Coronation Street has been working with the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which is spearheaded by her mum Sylvia.
Speaking about the importance of the message Corrie is attempting to get across, Visinoni said in a virtual press conference: “People are quick to make drastic assumptions about how others express themselves through dress or whatever it might be. And that ignorance has consequences.
“Sophie was killed because of blind hate and that kind of prejudice comes from a lack of understanding. So it was a big responsibility to tell this story and share its ideas as truthfully as possible.
"It’s been an honour to be trusted with it and I believe it’ll have the right impact. And it was very moving hearing Sylvia’s story.”
Regular viewers will have no doubt been affected by Seb’s final on-screen moments, which saw his traumatised mum Abi drop to her knees in anguish and let out an almost primal scream. It was a performance that left Visinoni impressed by actress Sally Carman’s versatility:
“I was quite awestruck by Sally’s ability to tap into that emotion at the drop of a hat. She was amazing take after take. The whole thing was quite emotional, really. When the director said, ‘that’s a wrap for Harry’, everyone clapped and I was welling up, which is a rare thing for me.”
The actor has been a mainstay on Coronation Street since October 2016, with key storylines for Seb including his role as a young carer for twin siblings Charlie and Lexi, as well as his HIV diagnosis and his discovery that then-girlfriend Alina was the victim of human trafficking.
Asked how he felt about the decision to kill Seb off, Visinoni told journalists at a Corrie press event: “I met with producer Iain MacLeod to discuss potential avenues going forward, this storyline got suggested as an option and I decided it was a fitting end for the character and something I’d love to be a part of.
“It was the perfect way for me to wave goodbye to Seb. I never intended to stay in the show forever and it’s always been a goal to play a part in a story that’s as big as this for the show. It wasn’t something I could pass up.”
Reflecting on his years in Weatherfield, Visinoni said:
“I came into the show straight out of college at the age of 18 and I turn 23 in June. So I’ve gone from a boy to a man. I’ve grown so much and learned a lot about TV – it’s an incredible education when you get on a show like Corrie.
“As for what’s next, I’d like to do a bit of theatre. Acting on stage is the next step for me, when it comes to developing and learning. Aside from that, I’m going to follow my nose and see where it takes me. I just want to continue to enjoy myself and build my career in whatever role that might be.”
Watch: The aftermath of Seb and Nina's attack is felt throughout Weatherfield