Coronation Street: David rape aftermath revealed – “I couldn’t stop crying,” says Jack P Shepherd

"David is tormented and the viewer needs to see that"

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David Platt will be left traumatised in next week’s Coronation Street when mechanic Josh Tucker denies having raped him. With Josh showing no remorse for his actions, David finds it difficult to speak out and even goes to the extent of saying that he wants to move to New Zealand to start a new life with his dad Martin. Here, actor Jack P Shepherd reveals all about the upcoming Corrie drama:

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So what happens when David wakes up on the morning after the rape?
David is a bit confused at first as to where he is, but then as he comes to he sees a photo of Josh and then sees his own clothes neatly folded and a note from Josh saying he has gone for a run and he will catch him later. You can see from David’s reaction that the truth of what has happened is dawning on him. He leaves the flat and goes straight home.

Why doesn’t he say anything to anyone?
This is the crucial part of the storyline really – he doesn’t want anyone to know what happened. He’s ashamed and just wants to try and pretend it didn’t happen. He feels there is no way he can tell Shona or his mum or sister what has happened because he’s disgusted and embarrassed. And this is the point of the storyline, he should tell someone and not keep it all bottled up inside him.

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When does he next see Josh?
Josh comes round the next day and has no shame at all. He even brings David a protein shake and David throws him out and says he knows what Josh did to him.

How does Josh react?
David says it very quietly, he knows Gail is upstairs and he doesn’t want her to hear. Josh picks up on this and realises David hasn’t told anyone, which of course gives him the power. Josh is a little bit rattled but brazens it out and tells David that it was consensual. He starts implying that David is gay and because David can’t remember the exact details of what happened it’s really difficult for him to deal with and he starts to doubt himself a little bit.

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Does he not think he can confide in Shona?
Absolutely not – he can’t talk about it at all. In fact, it really affects his relationship with Shona as when they start to get intimate all he can think about is what happened with Josh and he gets angry and lashes out. Shona has no idea what’s wrong with him. He’s not angry with her, he’s angry with himself and that’s when his relationship starts to fall apart.

What did you think when you were first told about the storyline?
In the past, I’ve never wanted to know what was going to happen to David. I prefer to let things unfold in scripts and not know. But, on this occasion, [producer] Kate Oates was very insistent that she wanted to discuss it with me as it was very serious and once she did I realised why. I thought it was an important story to tell and she told me it was less about the actual assault and more about how David deals with the aftermath. It’s a men’s mental health story and about encouraging men to talk about things that happen to them rather than bottling it up.

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Did you do any research?
Yes – Kate and I went to meet Duncan from Survivors Manchester who’ve helped with all the research. I know David well after playing him for all these years, but if you’re going to tackle an issue like this, it’s important to hear the real human side to do it justice. This is David’s story  and I trust the scriptwriters to take him on this journey as they’ve done with everything else he’s been through, but I did feel it was helpful to hear from someone who had gone through what David was going to go through.

How hard has it been getting into David’s headspace following the rape?
This is potentially one of the darkest places David has been in – he was obviously massively affected by Kylie’s death, but everyone knew about that and were looking out for him and even though he didn’t really want to talk about it in depth it wasn’t a secret. This time it’s just all in his head – he has no outlet, he doesn’t speak to anyone and the only other person who knows is his attacker and he’s enjoying winding David up and having power over him. David is tormented and the viewer needs to see that, so for David to break down it needs to feel real and not forced. It’s very emotional and after one scene I couldn’t stop crying.

How do you shake it off?
For those particular type of scenes it can take a while. I just need to take myself off somewhere on my own and get rid of David.

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Why do you feel this is an important story to tell?
In showing how David struggles to cope with what happened to him and the effect not speaking to anyone then has on him, hopefully people will start talking about the storyline and it could help someone who has gone through something similar to realise the need to open up.

You can watch a 60-second rundown of next week’s drama on Coronation Street below

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