'Coronation Street' enlisted a therapist to be on set to talk to cast members if they were affected by Aidan Connor's suicide storyline.

Kate Oates

Kate Oates

Shayne Ward's character will be found dead after taking his own life in devastating scenes next week, and series producer Kate Oates wrote to the stars of the show and the crew to give them a heads up about the hard-hitting story, as well as hiring a counsellor to be on standby if required.

She said: "We had a therapist who people could talk to if they wanted to on set each day. Obviously we're a massive company at 'Coronation Street' and everybody has a very different experience of suicide."

Kate has found the storyline to be a "cathartic experience" because people she "barely knows" have divulged their inner thoughts and feelings to her as a result of the serious plot.

She added to the Daily Star newspaper: "I've felt so close to people that I barely know, because people have opened up and it's been a cathartic experience."

Shayne admitted he was left "heartbroken" when he was told his character is going to take his own life, and was "instantly scared" about taking on the storyline because he knew it was a huge responsibility.

He said: "I was asked before Christmas. It's really tough to watch. I was just full of all different emotions. I was instantly scared, I was nervous, and completely heartbroken, because I knew this was more than just a storyline.

"I knew the impact it's going to have on the public when it airs. It's amazing 'Coronation Street' is covering this.

"I'm still full of all emotions."

Kate has admitted the show's bosses initially had reservations about the upcoming plot, in which the factory owner 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 so many 'Corrie' employees "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 next week, after the Underworld boss fails to turn up for work at the factory. His suicide will not be shown on screen.