Coronation Street’s grooming storyline is something that’s been a constant source of conversation for all those watching, and whether or not they agree with how it’s been portrayed on the small screen, it’s undeniably going to change lives across the nation, shining a light on a topic that usually is rarely talked about.
One of those working closely within the storyline is actor Ben Cartwright, who plays crooked cop Neil; a man who has sexually assaulted Bethany Platt (played by Lucy Fallon) and now holds tremendous power over her, threatening her if she even thinks about speaking out against him.
With Bethany’s close friend Craig now looking to find out what Bethany is still hiding, Neil will go to extreme lengths to keep him quiet, bundling him into his car in upcoming episodes.
“It’s becoming increasingly more evidence to Neil that Craig is not going to let it go,” Cartwright explains. “For the character of Neil, because he is in a position of authority and he is always on the front foot and always in control, it is unnerving that there is a feeling he gets from Craig of persistence and that his world could come tumbling around so definitely he has gone into panic mode at that point.”
Unafraid though, Craig tells everything he knows to the Chief Inspector. The end for Neil is right around the corner, as the actor continues: “That scene in particular (when called to see the Chief Inspector), from a human point of view filming it, was horrible to walk into a room and see six or seven people giving you daggers and shaking their heads and looking at you in disgust. It’s clear at that moment, for Neil it’s game over.”
Speaking about the soap’s importance in tackling tough topics, he said: “It’s to bring it to people’s attention and it’s also to change people’s perception of who the perpetrators are. The casting of Chris Harper (Nathan) has been really good – a handsome chap that comes across as extremely charismatic but he also has an element about him that puts your feelings up that something is not quite right.
“It’s important to show that it’s not just internet weirdos who hide behind a computer with their greasy hair and long fingernails and it’s important to show that the character of Bethany is not a fool, she’s not a gullible young girl but this has happened to her when she is an intelligent, free-spirited teenager. Actually these people are very manipulative and very clever and with anything in terms of abuse, it brings it into people’s consciousness.”
Coronation Street continues throughout the week on ITV.
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