Fans of Coronation Street have been pretty vocal about finding Bethany’s developing grooming storyline unsettling to watch.
But now the soap could be under investigation by TV watchdog Ofcom after a scene that played out with the 16-year-old caused actual distress to some viewers.
In Thursday’s episode, Bethany was persuaded by older boyfriend Nathan – who is secretly grooming her – to attend a party in his flat, wearing a skin-tight red dress.
She was the only female there, apart from Nathan’s friend Mel, who is complicit in his plans to pimp her out to other men for sex.
This storyline makes for difficult watching but it’s important as many people as possible are aware of the signs of grooming.
The rest of the guests were men much older than the naïve teen.
At one point, she spoke to a friend of Nathan’s who leered at her and then pressed Nathan on when she would be ‘ready’.
This disturbed some people tuning in at home who complained about the pre-watershed content and – according to The Sun – the soap may now be investigated by Ofcom over these complaints.
The regulatory body has, reportedly, told the tabloid: “We will assess these complaints before deciding whether to investigate.”
Bethany's storyline has been praised by charities who are battling the growing issue of grooming on a daily basis.
Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan has said: “This storyline makes for difficult watching but it’s important as many people as possible are aware of the signs of grooming, so we can prevent this abuse happening.”
"Like Bethany's character, the young victims of this crime mistakenly think these child sex abusers care for them because they're often showered with presents and attention.
"But alcohol and mobile phones can be used to control and manipulate them into doing things they don't want to do."