Long-running soap Coronation Street will address the issue of male rape tonight in a gripping new storyline where character David Platt is raped by his new friend Josh Tucker.
The storyline sees the two friends getting drunk together in a bar, and sharing stories of the problems they have had with each of their families.
When David goes to the gents, Josh spikes his drink and later takes David back to his flat.
The following morning David wakes up alone in Josh’s bed and realises that he has been raped by Josh.
Each of the actors, as well as the writers of the controversial storyline, consulted closely with Survivors Manchester, a local support group for male survivors of sexual abuse and rape.
The male rape plot came in for some criticism on today’s Good Morning Britain programme when presenter Kate Garraway suggested to Coronation Street producer Kate Oates that the soap’s storylines were becoming too dark.
Garraway said: “I suppose what parents might worry about is it feels like [Coronation Street] is getting more and more shocking. I remember – because I am very old – the first lesbian kiss on Brookside and the first gay man kiss on EastEnders.
“Now in tonight’s episode of Coronation Street we’re going to see the character David Platt drugged and sexually assaulted in a gay sexual assault.
“That feels like an exponential increase in the explicit nature of what’s going straight into family viewing living rooms. It will be very clear, won’t it, what’s going on for youngsters watching?”
In reply Oates said that, although people may have been shocked by the gay kiss on EastEnders at the time (1987,) it was now “really important” that a gay kiss on TV had been normalised “because to think that a gay kiss is shocking television is really, really disturbing.”
Addressing the rape storyline Oates went on to say that one in 10 rape cases in the country involves a male, and many men take years to come to terms with their assault.
“This needs discussion and it’s important to shine a light on these subjects. Do it carefully and do it with consideration because we don’t want to upset people. We are a drama but we want to inform people.”
Coronation Street airs tonight (16 March) at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.