Coronation Street acid attack plotline could trigger 'national conversation'
A new storyline in Coronation Street exploring the long-lasting impacts of acid attacks on their victims is hoped to advance 'national conversation', Rishi Davda reports
With decades of television under its belt, Coronation Street has never been shy in providing millions of fans with a dramatic storyline.
However, in recent years those storylines have done more than just engage, they’ve informed too.
It’s latest plot involving an acid attack is no different.
Jason Rutherford returns to Weatherfield to cruelly attack Daisy Midgeley with acid on her wedding day.
Ryan Connor steps in front of Daisy and is hit with the majority of the corrosive liquid.
Ryan Prescott has played Connor for five years on Corrie, and said: "When it comes to violence of this nature, extreme violence, there is no way you can comprehend it."
"I’ve spoken to acid attack survivors, they’ve told me their stories and I’ve engaged with them, all you can do is imagine that as a reality for yourself."
One of the survivors he spoke to was Andreas Christopheros, who was attacked with acid 2014 and left with facial scarring.
Remembering the conversations he had with Ryan about the storyline, he said "for Coronation Street to get it correct, or get it as close as possible as to what I would deem to be correct, you have to do a deep dive into the real horrific sides of an acid attack."
"The episode as far as I am concerned is a tool to shine a light on acid crime in the UK. Educate people on what to do in the event of an acid attack."
It was also one of his key priorities that producers, writers and actors are aware of the long-term consequences of an attack.
"We all know soap dramas go through storylines quickly, but an acid attack isn’t that. If they want to focus on the reality, they need to focus on rehab and scarring.
"An actor can’t wear prosthetics for three months and then be back to normal, that would belittle the good work they have done."
Coronation Street writer Ian Kershaw knows the responsibility the show has to tell a sensitive and accurate story.
"What is so wonderful about continuing drama is that we are in people’s living rooms three times a week, it becomes a national conversation.
The Katie Piper foundation Chief Executive Sarah Green says that when it comes to acid attacks and burns "mental health and physical health go hand-in-hand."
"Growing up in the 70s, I saw no disabilities, no one who looks different. That has gotten better, except for people for facial scarring.
"Your eye naturally gravitates towards them, hopefully with this story we’ll see Ryan's journey and someone with facial scarring and it will become less of an issue."
Both The Katie Piper Foundation and Acid Survivors Trust International worked with Corrie creators to best tell the story.She added: "It’s great for Coronation Street to capture the attack in a responsible way, but we had to educate them about about the longevity. That it is a lifetime of recovery for a survivor after an attack like this."
For more information about dealing with burns and acid attacks, you can visit:
The Katie Piper Foundation: https://katiepiperfoundation.org.uk
Acid Survivors Trust International: https://www.asti.org.uk