Sleazy salon owner Nathan Curtis is to up the ante on next week’s Coronation Street when he drugs ‘girlfriend’ Bethany and coerces her into sleeping with three different men. The soap’s sexual exploitation storyline looks set to take this grim twist after Nathan tells Bethany to slip off her engagement ring, telling her that wouldn’t want guests at the party he’s organised to be jealous. But little does Bethany know that Nathan has collected cash from a trio of mates, telling them that Bethany will have sex with them.
So, will Bethany go along with the sordid plans? Or will the Platts – acting on a tip-off from Shona – be able to save Bethany before it’s too late? Here’s actress Lucy Fallon with her take on all the latest Corrie drama:
So, how is Bethany feeling about her relationship with Nathan at this stage and what he’s asking her to do After she slept with Neil, she felt there was something massively wrong but Nathan really played it down. He encouraged her that it was the right thing to do and made her feel that this is what being in a relationship is about. He explained he had no need to be jealous if she was with other people as he knows she loves him and he loves her too. So she’s really confused by what’s happened.
When Nathan then proposed to her did that quash her feelings of doubt? It definitely changed how she was feeling and she’s now convinced he really loves her. But she’s still really confused because after he proposed, he told her she needed to sleep with Ian. He takes her engagement ring off so as not to make other people jealous and she’s really thrown by this. She doesn’t know what’s going on but she goes ahead with what Nathan’s telling her to do because he’s so manipulative.
When the Platts took her from Nathan’s flat the first time they tried to explain that what he’s doing is wrong, is Bethany torn or is she so under Nathan’s spell that she’s pushing her family away? She’s mortified that they’re interfering and she’s desperate to get back to Nathan. She knows he’s going to be really cross with her and she’s desperate to please him, believing what they have is real.
Having returned to Nathan he spikes her drink and organises another party – what danger is Bethany in? Bethany’s drugged and confused – she doesn’t really know what’s happening. Nathan directs her towards a room with three of his mates where it looks like she’s going to be raped. She knows what’s happening to her isn’t right because she doesn’t want to sleep with these men. But she can’t see it as though she’s being raped because she can’t see past her love for Nathan.
How does Bethany feel when she’s faced with going into a room with three men? She really doesn’t want to do it. She’s been drugged by Nathan and he’s saying that she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to. But it’s all a form of manipulation. He might be saying that, but she knows full well what he expects of her. Then when there’s three men in the room she shouts for Mel. She’s in shock and it’s the first time she really starts to think that something is wrong – why are Nathan and Mel letting this happen to her?
How does Bethany react when the Platts arrive at Nathan’s flat – is she relieved to see them or is she still confused by what Nathan is asking of her? At first she’s confused because she’s been drugged, but then when she starts to realise what’s going on. She’s mortified that they can see what’s been going on, but she still won’t accept that Nathan’s done anything wrong. She’s not listening to anything that the Platts are saying to her and she refuses to believe any of it.
Her heart still seems to be with Nathan, is that quite scary? It’s going to take her a long time to get her head round it. She believes everything that Nathan says to her because in her eyes she’s been in a relationship with him for the last six months. When people start saying to her she’s been groomed, she can’t accept that because to her they’re engaged and they love each other. An important part of portraying this storyline is that a lot of survivors of grooming and sexual exploitation say that they still couldn’t see what was happening to them until a long time after it had been exposed.
Having met survivors of sexual grooming yourself, does that help you when the scenes are tough to act out? Initially, I found it quite hard to see how this would happen to somebody, especially Bethany who had a strong family network around her. But from speaking to survivors who I met through the NSPCC I was able to see how normal these girls that are preyed on are. They’re real people who you don’t necessarily think would be vulnerable yet they are still coerced.
One girl who we met with was really open with her story and it really opened my eyes to see how this can happen to anyone. Her story was horrific and if I’m ever having a tough day I think back to her story and remember this isn’t happening to me, I’m just acting it out. So I need to man up and do it justice for her.
You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s episodes of Coronation Street below.