'Coronation Street' bosses were initially "reticent" and "anxious" about covering Aidan Connor's suicide - before deciding it is a "no brainer".

Kate Oates

Kate Oates

Kate Oates, the ITV soap's series producer - who is departing the show in June - has admitted there were reservations about the upcoming plot, in which factory owner Aidan (Shayne Ward) will take his own life after going through weeks of inner turmoil, but it was decided to go through with the story because the subject touched everyone "on a personal level".

She said: "It's so important to talk about it because it affects so many people. When we were discussing this storyline and whether or not we wanted to tackle it, initially we were quite reticent and anxious.

"And the more we talked about it, it became apparent that everybody around that table had been affected by suicide in one way or another.

"When you think it's touched all of us on a personal level - shouldn't we be discussing this? So that's what made it a bit of a no brainer."

Aidan's body will be discovered by his father Johnny Connor (Richard Hawley) at his Victoria Street flat after the Underworld boss fails to turn up for work at the factory, and Kate believes Corrie's plot is "unique" because viewers haven't seen Aidan - who will last be shown on screen on May 7 - "on the brink" in recent weeks.

She added: "What I think makes it unique is that obviously suicide been looked at in other soaps and serial dramas before, but inevitably we follow the journey of that character as they become more and more depressed.

"We see them with the pills, we see them possibly make an attempt on their life and then we see them pulled back from the brink.

"What happens in most cases is nobody knows what's going on behind closed doors. People hide it. Therefore, when someone doesn't come into work one day we say, 'We never saw it coming.' Families and friends say, 'We never saw it coming.'

"That's what can be so devastating. People are left without that opportunity, where they could've helped if only the person who was suffering had spoken.

"That's what we wanted to reflect."

Several high profile 'Corrie' fans, such as Sir Michael Parkinson and Paul O'Grady, have hit out at the soap in recent weeks after 'Corrie' aired a number of hard-hitting plots, such as Pat Phelan's (Connor McIntyre) murder spree and David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) being raped, and Kate has admitted the soap has become "pretty dark".

When Lorraine Kelly told the series producer she was "confused" when she saw Phelan keeping Andy Carver (Oliver Farnworth) prisoner in a cellar, Kate added: "You can have that one - that's pretty dark."

The show producer admitted the soap's dark tones could be a "culture shock" to those who watched the programme when there was a "gentler" pace, because there were fewer episodes.

Speaking on 'Lorraine', she said: "The Phelan story is pretty dark but it's also an art story about a serial killer.

"If you're going to tell any story about a killer it's quite hard to not be dark.

"Whether that's Richard Hillman from classic 'Corrie', beating someone to death with a crowbar is pretty dark.

"I still think there is a balance to the show.

"With six episodes a week there has to be constant drama. For every cliff-hanger we have to bring somebody back. When that episode finishes we have to have someone thinking, 'What happens next?'

"That's why the drama is pretty pacy at the moment. I can see why people who have watched it for a really, really, long time, when it was two or three episodes a week, and that pace could be gentler, it probably feels like a bit of a culture shock.

"I think it's just a natural move of the pace of storytelling."

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