Coronation Street will tonight show Shayne Ward’s last two episodes as Aidan Connor. Monday’s double bill will see Aidan attempt to make peace with one-time girlfriend Eva Price before he decides to take his own life.
No scenes of suicide will be shown on the ITV soap – fans will instead see Aidan left alone and in tears in his flat this evening before dad Johnny finds his son’s body in an hour-long episode to be broadcast on Wednesday.
The drama will then explore the guilt and recrimination felt by the Connor family, who blame themselves for not having seen Aidan hit rock bottom.
Speaking recently about the traumatic events, actor Shayne Ward said: “It isn’t always possible to spot when a person is struggling to cope with life But everybody is going to be thinking, ‘were there any tell tale signs that Aidan was feeling suicidal?’
“You can’t pin it down to one particular thing that’s happened to him over the years – he’s cheated, he’s lost people their jobs, he’s had a hard relationship with his dad and he’s always been quite troubled.”
Speaking about why she’d decided to highlight the issue of male suicide, producer Kate Oates added: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford not afford not to talk about it.
“Aidan’s story, bravely and brilliantly tackled by Shayne Ward, is designed to give people who hide their feelings of desperation a chance to start a conversation letting someone know what they’re going through. Through this story, we want to assure anyone who feels suicidal that there is always someone who wants to listen and support you.”
Asked how he felt for it to be his character who takes his own life, Ward said: “Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he’s someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story. We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.
“They should realise that suicide is not the only option – they can and should talk to someone rather than suffer in silence and let things get worse.”
Talking about the experience of filming his exit scenes, Ward commented: “At the end of the day, I could have said no and that I couldn’t do the storyline. But I thought about it and talked it through and there was a greater pull to want to do the storyline.
“It was difficult playing those scenes and you can remain in that dark place after filming them. So it was important for me to get out of that mindset and shake it off at the end of the filming day. But hopefully, it’ll be so helpful to people and will be something that my daughter [Willow] will be proud of. For me, it was all about looking to the future with her at the forefront of my mind. She is my happy place.”
Sign up to the Radio Times newsletter for the latest TV and entertainment news