If you haven’t been following this harrowing storyline on ‘Coronation Street’ lately, here is why the soap is currently hitting the headlines.
An episode was broadcast by ITV on February 17 which featured 16-year-old schoolgirl Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) being bedded by the much older salon owner Nathan Curtis when he took her back to his house after she got drunk in a club.
The uncomfortable scenes prompted a flood of criticism on social media and Ofcom investigated two official complaints, but decided what featured on screen was “neither graphic nor violent” and the storyline “took into account Coronation Street’s established role in covering challenging or distressing social issues.”
However, Lucy has now admitted that even her father cannot bear to watch her current child grooming storyline.
The actress told The Daily Mirror: “My mum watches it but I don’t think my dad can watch it at the moment.
“And my boyfriend doesn’t watch because he finds it too uncomfortable. I find it uncomfortable to watch because it’s me in it.”
The 21-year-old soap star also revealed that her character is further exploited by Nathan’s friend and has sex with him in the ITV soap.
Speaking of how she approached the scene, Lucy said: “She does end up sleeping with (Nathan’s friend) and it upset me because she’s saying no and ‘I’m not that kind of girl’ and he just lays her on the bed.
“I had to cry and it was like, ‘Oh this is horrible’.
“I could really put myself in that mindset, I think you kind of have to, otherwise you’re not doing it properly.
“It’s horrific, I don’t think there’s any way you can get out of it, but I have quite a long drive home, so I zone out and listen to my music and by the time I get home I feel normal again.”
The NSPCC worked with the writers on the ITV soap and the cast for the storyline has also released a statement insisting it is conveying the uncomfortable truths about grooming to the British public.
The charity said: “Soaps play an important part in highlighting abuse, and in giving victims the courage to speak out and in signposting them to help and support. It can make for difficult viewing, but it’s vital this type of abuse is portrayed as realistically as possible. We hope it will raise awareness of the signs of grooming and encourage more victims to come forward and seek help.
The NSPCC also revealed that a real-life sex abuse victim, known as ‘Lucie’, bravely shared her story with the actors and writers as they researched grooming.
The statement added: “We are also very grateful to the bravery of Lucie, a victim of child sexual exploitation, who shared her experiences with the writers and actors involved as part of their research for this sensitive storyline.”
And Lucy said that the plot had made her think about how to tackle online grooming.
She added to the Daily Mirror: “If I have a child, boy or girl, it’s changed the way I feel about them being on social media from such a young age. I don’t think it should be allowed.
“I think there should be an age limit, I think 16.”