Max Turner to be groomed by Extremists
Coronation Street is to highlight the issue of the grooming of disenfranchised and impressionable young men in a hard hitting storyline involving Max Turner.
A lonely and vulnerable Max, played by Paddy Bever, is targeted by a gang of extremists ultimately putting his own life and that of his friends and family in danger.
In Friday’s episode (October 28th) viewers will see Peter Barlow confront eco activist Griff and his mates when he discovers that the band they have invited him to see are playing racist songs. Toyah tackles Spider about the company he is keeping unaware that he is an undercover cop who has infiltrated the gang to expose their activity.
In Monday’s episode (October 31st) Griff, played by Michael Condron, turns his attention to troubled Max who has been the victim of persistent school bullies since losing his place at Weatherfield High. Griff steps in and threatens to teach the bullies a lesson and in doing so wins Max’s trust.
He invites Max to a Halloween party at his house telling the rest of the gang that he could be useful to their cause. In the coming months as Max becomes more estranged from his family the teenager falls under the spell of Griff who uses Max’s video and computer skills to spread their racist propaganda.
Coronation Street Producer Iain MacLeod said: "Overall, Max's story is one about the grooming of a vulnerable teenager at a point where he's feeling most alienated and disenfranchised. The story will encompass the "traditional" recruitment techniques of extremists groups, and we'll see Max befriended in person by older, mentor-like figures that will give him a sense of loyalty and brotherhood.
“Then, later in the story, we will explore a very 21st Century problem: teenagers self-radicalising through watching extreme content online. In the end, we wanted this to be a story about communication within families - what are the right and wrong ways to talk to younger family members who are gravitating towards extreme views? For the conclusion of the story, David's misjudged attempts to deal with Max will drive the narrative to a shocking and thought-provoking climax."
Counter Terrorism Policing’s Senior National Coordinator, Tim Jacques, said:
“Coronation Street has a long history of raising awareness of challenging issues that sit at the heart of communities across the UK. Sadly, the terrorist threat remains one of those very real concerns.
“Our casework shows that children and young people are vulnerable to radicalisation and are increasingly being drawn into toxic ideologies through online spaces and platforms.
“We hope Max’s story will help to highlight why it’s so important to get support or advice if you’re worried someone you love is taking a dangerous path. It really doesn’t have to be that way.”
If you are concerned that someone you know might be being radicalised, you are not alone. There is advice and support available via https://actearly.uk/
If you’ve seen or heard something that could potentially be related to terrorism, trust your instincts and report it. Your actions could save lives. Report via https://act.campaign.gov.uk/ or call 0800 789 321.