Coronation Street characters Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin will be subjected to an unprovoked violent attack because of her alternative identity.
The soap is set to tackle the issue of hate crime and will be working alongside The Sophie Lancashire Foundation.
Coronation Street: Nina and Seb to be viciously attacked in hate crime story
Coronation Street decided to tell the hard-hitting storyline to explore social intolerance and prejudice so often suffered by people from stigmatised minority groups.
In scenes which will air next month Seb and Nina will be subjected to a violent assault. The assault has similarities to what happened to Sophie Lancashire in 2007.
Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were set upon and beaten in a park, simply because of the way they looked.
As a consequence of the attack, Sophie sadly died from her injuries.
Coronation Street working with The Sophie Lancashire Foundation
Sophie’s mum Sylvia set up The Sophie Lancashire Foundation in her daughter’s memory. The foundation focuses on creating respect for, and understanding of subcultures in our community.
When the storyline was first discussed, producers and the research team approached Sylvia. Sylvia was delighted to be able to work with them to highlight the issue.
In recent weeks Nina and Seb have fallen head over heels in love.
But her Victorian Goth identity has resulted in some prejudice reactions, not least from Corey Brent.
Corey is the boyfriend of Nina’s friend Asha Alahan. But he has made his intolerance towards Nina known.
In the dramatic scenes to be aired in early May the couple are out walking. On their walk Corey and a gang of drunken mates, including Kelly Neelan, corner and goad the pair.
Corey soon starts hurling abuse. But Kelly finds herself egged on by the crowd and slaps Nina.
Seb and Nina soon hurry away as the gang gives chase. However they soon find themselves subject to an unprovoked attack.
Later, on the street, the police arrive with news of the attack. This brings Abi and Kevin’s hen and stag parties to a halt.
Abi and Roy rush to the hospital to be with Seb and Nina. Meanwhile the police start investigating to get to the bottom of which of the teenage gang was responsible for the vicious assault that has left the young couple with horrified injuries.
The storyline will draw in Corrie’s other teens. Summer, Amy and Asha find themselves caught up in the aftermath as potential witnesses in the police inquiry.
Iain MacLeod talks about the upcoming storyline
On the importance of tackling this storyline, Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod said: “The issue of intolerance and hatred towards people from different cultures and subcultures is arguably more relevant now than it’s ever been.
“This incredibly hard-hitting storyline, which centres on a senseless act of violence, will draw in characters from all corners of our narrative universe and will, we hope, leave the audience with a clear message: everyone, regardless of how they look, how they dress, or any aspect of how they live their life, should be treated with tolerance and respect.
“The story will run across the rest of the year and beyond, with many twists and turns and heart-breaking and dramatic in equal measure.
“In the end, the story will see an optimistic outcome emerge from the traumatic attack.”
Dr Sylvia Lancashire OBE speaks about the storyline
Dr Sylvia Lancashire OBE, Chief Executive of the Sophie Lancashire Foundation, added: “I know first-hand the abuse, harassment and violence alternative people suffer.
“Hate crime is usually directed at stigmatised and minority groups and Sophie was assaulted three times before that final, sustained and brutal attack that took her life – but she never reported the earlier assaults.
“Coronation Street covering this issue means such a huge amount to me. We want alternative people to know that they shouldn’t be putting up with this prejudice and intolerance, and they should report it.
She continued: “We want the wider community to really appreciate the horror of this violence and understand that difference it itself is not frightening, it just makes us all who we are.
“We will also use this platform to continue raising awareness of Sophie’s case with the police and judiciary to make sure that hate crime against alternative people is recognised and treated with the degree of severity that it deserves.”
Coronation Street airs on Mondays and Wednesdays 7.30pm and 8.30pm. There is an hour long episode at 7.30 on Fridays on ITV.
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