Coronation Street viewers have been left feeling “physically sick”, as the Bethany Platt grooming storyline gets even worse.
In post-watershed episodes this week, viewers have watched on in shock as teenager Bethany Platt is controlled and manipulated by her sick older boyfriend Nathan Curtis.
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He has been grooming her for months, and already forced her to sleep with one of his friends. But in last night’s episode things got even worse, as Bethany came face to face with another, even younger girl, at one of Nathan’s sex ring parties.
The Bethany story is horrendous but it is so important.
She was seen getting dressed in the bedroom, after being forced to have sex with a much older man.
Bethany fought with her, thinking she had stolen her necklace as she was wearing an identical one, but the anonymous youngster replied by saying that “Nathan gives them to all of us.”
While that poor young girl was clearly more aware of what Nathan is, Bethany is still oblivious and under his control.
And in tonight’s episode things get darker than ever when, after plying Bethany with alcohol and secretly spiking her drinks with drugs, Nathan take money from three different men for them to have sex with the schoolgirl.
Despite praising the difficult storyline and acknowledging it tackles an important issue, fans have been taking to Twitter to describe how the scenes leave them feeling sick, especially as the other girl was just a child.
Actress Lucy Fallon, who plays Bethany, admits she finds the abuse storyline incredibly difficult to film, and that her boyfriend cannot watch her scenes.
And she had been left in tears after speaking to a real-life survivor of grooming, who was abused by a much older man she met online when she was just ten years old.
Corrie producer Kate Oates told fans that they will have to wait for Bethany’s ordeal to be over, as – even if the truth comes out – she may not be ready to hear it.
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“What Bethany has been through is a process of brainwashing, and just because you're pulled out of danger, doesn't mean that the lights are suddenly on and she can see what the truth is,” said Kate.
“There is a little way to go with her story still.”
Coronation Street continues on ITV at 9pm tonight.