Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide, which some readers may find upsetting.
Coronation Street boss Kate Oates has opened up about how she broke down in tears after Aidan’s (Shayne Ward) suicide storyline aired on screens.
Shayne Ward made his final appearance as Aidan earlier this month before life for the Connor family changed forever as he was found dead in the bathroom of his flat having died by suicide, and its aftermath delivered some of the most emotional episodes in the soap’s history.
And now, the series producer has revealed that she was left sobbing after the episodes aired, describing feeling a mixture of emotions and “relief” that the episodes “worked” and that they were very well-received by the audiences.
“There were always going to be reservations until the episodes had gone out,” Oates explained to Bang Showbiz at the BAFTA TV Awards last night (May 13).
“I knew the episodes were good and I knew the message was fine as far as I was concerned. When I watched them I sobbed. Partly because it was emotional, and partly with relief because, for me, I felt they worked.
“You still never know how it’s going to land though.”
More important to the producer, however, is that the episodes prompted the kind of conversations she was hoping for, continuing to say that people have gotten in touch with the soap after watching the storyline because the issues raised resonated.
“As it is, people received it with a really genuine spirit and with a lot of honesty,” she explained.
“People got in touch with us and said, ‘I’m having a hard time. My child is having a hard time. My dad’s having a hard time.’
“That’s exactly what we wanted – talking. The most important thing now is that carries on.”
She continued: “We’ve got loads of other stuff coming up and obviously that storyline will be continued through the Connor family, but that conversation should not stop.
“That momentum needs to still happen. 84 men a week kill themselves. It’s not good enough. We have to keep that conversation going.”
The storyline continues in tonight’s episodes of the soap, when Michelle Connor (Kym Marsh) gets a shock when she reads Aidan’s will.
Coronation Street airs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street spoilers, as the Connors struggle after Aidan’s death and Zeedan struggles to let Rana go.
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