(This post was originally posted by Flaming Nora on the Coronation Street Blog June 2017, reposted to this blog with permission.)
Bethany’s grooming storyline has been at the heart of this week’s dramatic Coronation Street.
I travelled to Manchester last week to interview Coronation Street actor Lucy Fallon, who plays Bethany, along with Corrie producer Kate Oates.
Lucy said that she still struggles to watch herself as Bethany in the grooming storyline. “I find it cringey to watch, myself. I think it’s been a lot easier to watch as it’s gone on. It’s harder to watch than it is to film. My boyfriend still doesn’t watch it”.
With Corrie this week shown at the post watershed slot of 9pm, producer Kate Oates said: “We are still very careful about what we show. We saw three men file into the bedroom which is as sinister as I want to watch.
"It was useful to speak to the writers and the network to say that when we bring this storyline to a point of its darkest drama that we did have the scope for a later time slot. It doesn’t show much more than we have done previously, we have always been careful. “
Lucy says that she is very proud of this storyline, having worked with the NSPCC, Childline and Voicing CSA. She said that when she went to St Ann’s square in Manchester to pay her respects to the victims of the bomb attack. “And a woman came up to me and said ‘I was sexually abused by my dad when I was younger’ then she got really upset and said she appreciated what I’d done in Corrie. I feel proud of it that people can come and say things like that.”
Kate Oates also said that Corrie are very proud of Lucy and Chris Harper (who plays Nathan). And she publicly thanked Lucy for the level of engagement she has given the role from the start.
When asked if the twist in the storyline with Nathan’s friend Neil turning out to the investigating policeman would stop victims reporting grooming to the police, Kate Oates said: “We have worked hard on this story so that the police, and those who support victims and survivors, are in the main, brave and professional who will work hard to get justice. It’s a twist for drama rather than a social twist. You have to balance it. And in the main, everyone else is honest, caring and compassionate. The Neil twist adds pressure to Bethany and brings Craig into the mix. Craig wants to save the world and believes policemen are good, so I think we more than balance it. “
Kate went on to say that “People will get what is due,” so let’s hope that Nathan will get his comeuppance sooner rather than later. And when he does, what of Bethany then? Will she get together with Craig?
“I don’t think so,” said Lucy. “Bethany is a really long process, she won’t get over what has happened to her. It’ll be a long process to get to back to normality. I think Craig will help her, they’ve got a good friendship but I don’t know what will happen after that.”
And as for the other girl Lara, who was at Nathan’s party this week, she looked very young indeed. Kate Oates said: “We’ll see Lara again, she’s older than she looks, but yes that was a conscious decision to make her look younger.”
Whether Bethany will be free soon of Nathan’s clutches remains to be seen. And if she does go back to live with her family, will Bethany help in setting free some of the other girls, like Lara?
It has been a very difficult storyline for many of us to watch, but one which Corrie have told exceedingly well.
You might also like to read my interview with Rob Mallard, who plays Daniel Osbourne.
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter