Coronation Street bosses have let their viewers know that Aidan’s exit (played by Shayne Ward) will be part of a harrowing suicide plot.
Producer Kate Oates said they’d chosen to reveal Aidan’s fate ahead of it airing so people had a choice whether they wanted to watch it or not.
Speaking to Metro, Oates said it was something of a responsibility and would act as a preemptive trigger warning for people watching at home:
‘There’s a reason we put it out in advance,’ she begins. ‘We decided we wanted to give people the chance of whether they wanted to watch it or not – we took a similar approach with David Platt’s rape story,’ Oates said, offering audiences the chance to decide rather than have it presented to them without choice.
And she reiterates she’s the first to avoid soap spoilers, but felt it was necessary here: ‘I don’t like spoilers a lot of the time but this isn’t that kind of story. I would much rather people had the choice with this one and if they feel that this is too hard for them to watch, then they know when it will air and will have the option to avoid it.
Any sensitive issue can trigger people – whether they’ve been directly affected by suicide or not, therefore Oates reckons the show is being responsible – especially where younger viewers are also concerned.
‘I would hope that if people do feel that they can see it unfold and maybe learn how they can help somebody or think about how they could view the person next door – we could all do with thinking about that kind of stuff a lot more – then great.
‘Also, we have noticed some responses to the rape story being “how do I explain this to my children?” But surely it’s a brilliant thing to be able to say to your children that sometimes this happens and if they need to talk then you are there or they can phone this number or speak to this person.’
The programme previously was both praised and criticised for airing the David Platt rape storyline, but in 2018 there should be real-life topics left unexplored.
‘That’s a much better and healthier way of approaching such a situation than just going “oh that’s a bit of a depressing situation, let’s not chat about it.” We’re not light entertainment – we’re a drama and we have something to say,’ she confirmed.
Only recently did ITV and This Morning help launch a suicide awareness campaign, called Project 84, whereby they exhibited an eye-catching installation on the rooftop of the studio’s building. It saw 84 life-sized statues of men precariously line the rooftop to illustrate how 84 men take their own lives every single week in the UK.
Other shows dealing with suicide, such as Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why, were forced to add a trigger warning after its graphic content upset viewers. Since its release last year, it now comes with a short video at the start, of its cast addressing the viewer. Netflix has also offered additional support for young people or parents wanting to learn more and how to talk about the show’s difficult themes.
Catch Coronation Street weeknights, from 7.30pm, on ITV1.