Coronation Street has offended its fans many times during its 61 years on television. But which scenes and episodes have received the most complaints?
It might be famous for raising awareness for taboo subjects like male rape, teenage grooming and suicide, but sometimes the storylines are just too much for some people.
Which Coronation Street scenes really got under fans’ skin? Here are the most complained about episodes of Corrie ever.
Read more: Coronation Street full cast list for 2022
1. Phelan kills Luke – 662 complaints
It’s no surprise to anyone that Phelan has made the top of this list.
But what might shock people is that it’s Luke’s murder that got the most complaints… more than Phelan’s sickening games with Andy Carver and Vinny Ashford.
Ofcom received more than 650 complaints stating that the episode – which showed Phelan hounding Luke in a high-speed car chase, before shooting him and setting his car on fire – were “too gory” and “harrowing” to be shown before the 9pm watershed.
At the time a spokesperson for ITV defended the scenes by saying: “Pat Phelan is well established as a villain, and his evil actions won’t have come as a surprise to viewers.”
2. Phelan makes Andy kill Vinny – 541 complaints
Phelan’s reign of terror has also won him second place on the list. This time for what is arguably the darkest episode ever seen in a soap.
There’s not a Corrie fan in the country who could forget the episode that saw evil Phelan force prisoner Andy Carver – who he had been holding hostage for nearly a year – to kill Vinny Ashworth in a rundown paper factory.
Terrified Andy reluctantly went through with the grisly deed, only for Phelan to then turn the gun on him to keep his murdering ways a secret.
3. Eva Price’s racist remark – 473 complaints
From Pat Phelan’s reign of terror to the lovely Eva Price.
Everyone’s favourite barmaid was at the centre of the third most complained about episode of Corrie.
Back in August 2016 Eva caused uproar when she made a racially insensitive comment while getting her hair dyed in Audrey’s salon. She was heard complaining: “I have more roots than Kunta Kinte. No idea who that is, by the way, just something my mum used to say.”
But Coronation Street viewers weren’t happy about Eva’s reference to the character from the novel Roots: The Saga Of An American Family, and made their feelings clear to Ofcom.
The TV regulators later cleared the comment, saying it “reflected the foolishness, and lack of sensitivity and cultural awareness, of her character.”
4. Geoff forces Yasmeen to eat her beloved chicken – 359 complaints
Geoff lashed out at his wife in March when she only cooked vegetables for his dinner.
She claimed he hadn’t given her enough money for meat. He told her he would sort their food out instead.
But when Yasmeen sat down to a roast chicken dinner she was enjoying it – until Geoff revealed it was her beloved chicken Charlotte Bronte that he had slaughtered and cooked.
It disgusted fans so much that 359 of them complained.
5. Yasmeen fights back against Geoff – 304 complaints
Geoff crops up again later in 2020 as his behaviour got worse and worse.
As he made her life a misery, Yasmeen finally fought back.
Geoff was threatening her with a knife and she grabbed a broken bottle and stabbed him in the neck with it.
The episode received 276 complaints, with the aftermath receiving more, taking the total to 304.
6. Evelyn makes comments about Hope’s therapy – 275 complaints
In August 2021, 275 people complained to Ofcom over Evelyn Plummer and her comments about Hope Stape.
Hope had started yet another fire, this time in Tyrone and Alina’s flat, which caused Alina to lose their baby.
Evelyn insisted the 11-year-old needed to be punished saying she needed “professional help” and not “play therapy”.
Viewers took offence to the line and complained in their hundreds.
7. Rana Habeeb dies on her wedding day – 236 complaints
When Rana was killed off on her wedding day to Kate Connor in the factory roof collapse in 2019, 236 people were offended.
They were unhappy that Rana died just before her wedding to Kate as they felt it was harmful to the LGBT+ community by suggesting all gay relationships end in tragedy.
Actress Bhavna Limbachia confirmed it was her decision to kill Rana off as she felt that was the only way Kate and Rana’s love story would ever end.
But that still didn’t make fans happy.
At the time Ofcom revealed to the Mirror.co.uk that they would not be investigating the soap.
They said: “We considered complaints that this storyline negatively portrayed gay relationships.
“In our view, the untimely death of the character was typical of this soap’s dramatic plotlines and would not have exceeded most viewers’ expectations.”
8. Billy Mayhew takes drugs in church – 211 complaints
More than 200 people complained about the episode aired in early 2018 that saw vicar Billy Mayhew taking heroin in a church with his brother Lee.
Not only were viewers horrified that drugs could feature so heavily in an episode that was airing at 8.30, but Lee’s comment: “This must be what heaven feels like” also didn’t go down well.
At the time, Coronation Street responded to the controversy by making it clear that it would portray the “very negative side” of Billy’s decisions.
The soap also said the scene was not intended to glamourise drugs, and that the episode did not show the physical act of Billy or Lee taking heroin.
9. David’s rape – 183 complaints
In March 2018 Corrie viewers were horrified after an episode of the soap saw Josh Tucker spike David Platt’s drink before taking him back to his house and into his bedroom.
A total of 183 viewers complained, and then a further 31 people contacted Ofcom about the episode that showed the aftermath of the rape that was aired a few days later.
A spokesperson for Ofcom said at the time that while the episode would have made tough viewing for fans, it wasn’t breaking any broadcasting rules.
10. Steve and Leanne get Oliver to sleep – 132 complaints
Leanne Battersby and Steve McDonald’s parenting tactics came under fire back in August 2017 when one episode saw the pair testing out the ‘controlled crying’ technique to get baby Oliver to sleep.
The method that sees mums and dads leaving their child to cry in an attempt to teach them to self-soothe has divided parents for years, and viewers weren’t happy to see it on Coronation Street.
An ITV spokesperson said: “Steve and Leanne’s controlled crying was portrayed on screen as having very mixed results with both parents struggling to adapt to it.
“It was never advocated as a right or wrong way to get a baby to sleep and was a small part of a bigger story.”
11. Grace’s racial profiling storyline – 104 complaints
Pregnant Grace Vickers had been buying baby bits when she was confronted by a security guard asking to see her receipt in March 2021.
She couldn’t find it, so he locked her in the office and she panicked as she started to experience contractions.
Grace managed to call her baby daddy’s uncle, Ronnie, who got her to hospital.
Ronnie then accused the security guard of ‘racially profiling and illegally detaining a pregnant woman of colour.’
104 people complained about the scenes and in a statement to Entertainment Daily!, Ofcom said: “We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to investigate.”
Coronation Street usually airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
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