Coronation Street tackles one of its most heartbreaking storylines ever next week, as it’s revealed that Aidan Connor has taken his own life.
Fans of the soap have known since the end of last year that actor Shayne Ward would be leaving the show.
There has been much speculation about how and when his character would depart, but now the dreadful circumstances have been revealed.
In Wednesday night’s episode (May 9), Johnny visits his son’s flat after he fails to turn up to work at the factory, assuming he’s overslept.
Just another day in the slightly chaotic world of Weatherfield, it seems…
But then Johnny discovers a note from Aidan, which leads to him discovering the awful truth.
In utter despair after finding his son dead, Johnny calls on daughter Carla and, as the emergency services descend, the horror of what’s happened begins to sink in.
News of Aidan’s death quickly circulates, leaving the residents of Coronation Street in deep shock and grief.
The Connors struggle to comprehend what has happened, with devastated Kate calling her brother’s actions selfish.
Johnny, meanwhile, is filled with guilt over not recognising that his son was in anguish.
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Aidan’s ex-girlfriend Eva, who received a visit from him the night he died (in scenes to air Monday, May 7), also blames herself.
No one can make sense of what has happened, and the aftermath will leave a trail of guilt, regret and disbelief among Aidan’s loved ones.
Shayne, who has played Aidan for three years and developed him into one of the most popular characters on the Street, has explained the importance of this painful plot.
“Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story,” he’s said in the show’s official statement.
“We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.”
Show producer Kate Oates added: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford to not talk about it.”
If you are struggling with depression and suicidal ideation, or are concerned about someone you know, please contact Samaritans for support and advice.