Coronation Street tackles threat of terrorism in hard-hitting storyline

Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod said a new storyline about extremism will have a “shocking climax” as the soap tackles grooming “disenfranchised” young men.

The storyline will see a lonely and vulnerable Max Turner, played by Paddy Bever, targeted by a gang of extremists – putting his life, and that of his friends and family, in danger, ITV said.

The soap will see character Griff, played by Michael Condron, turn his attention to a troubled Max who has been the victim of persistent school bullies since losing his place at Weatherfield High.

Max party
Griff invites Max to a Halloween party at his house on Coronation Street (ITV/PA)

Griff steps in and threatens to teach the bullies a lesson and in doing so wins Max’s trust, before inviting Max to a Halloween party at his house telling the rest of the gang that he could be useful to their cause.

In the coming months as Max becomes more estranged from his family, the teenager falls under the spell of Griff who uses Max’s video and computer skills to spread their racist propaganda, ITV said.

Mr MacLeod said: “Overall, Max’s story is one about the grooming of a vulnerable teenager at a point where he’s feeling most alienated and disenfranchised.

“The story will encompass the “traditional” recruitment techniques of extremists groups, and we’ll see Max befriended in person by older, mentor-like figures that will give him a sense of loyalty and brotherhood.

Inside Soap Awards 2022 – London
Paddy Bever at the Inside Soap Awards (Ian West/PA)

“Then, later in the story, we will explore a very 21st Century problem: teenagers self-radicalising through watching extreme content online.

“In the end, we wanted this to be a story about communication within families – what are the right and wrong ways to talk to younger family members who are gravitating towards extreme views?

“For the conclusion of the story, David’s misjudged attempts to deal with Max will drive the narrative to a shocking and thought-provoking climax.”

Counter Terrorism Policing’s Senior National Coordinator, Tim Jacques, said: “Coronation Street has a long history of raising awareness of challenging issues that sit at the heart of communities across the UK.

“Sadly, the terrorist threat remains one of those very real concerns.
 
“Our casework shows that children and young people are vulnerable to radicalisation and are increasingly being drawn into toxic ideologies through online spaces and platforms.
 
“We hope Max’s story will help to highlight why it’s so important to get support or advice if you’re worried someone you love is taking a dangerous path. It really doesn’t have to be that way.”