Coronation Street: Josh arrested for raping David – Jack P Shepherd interview

"This is the most important part of the storyline"

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Coronation Street’s controversial male rape storyline takes a dramatic turn next week when David Platt finally reports Josh Tucker the police for the assault, resulting in the attacker being arrested.

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In a special week for the soap that sees episodes airing nightly in a 9pm slot from Monday 28 May-Friday 1 June between Britain’s Got Talent live semi-finals and results shows, David bravely faces up to his ordeal after meeting Dec, another of Josh’s victims who also feels too ashamed to tell the police what he’s been through.

Overhearing Johnny Connor discuss son Aidan’s tragic suicide and how he wished he’d talked to someone instead of bottling everything up, David decides to report the rape and on Tuesday 29 May Josh is arrested. As his indignant attacker refuses to comment on the charges and feigns surprise, David has Shona’s support as he tells his family the truth about his ordeal on Thursday 31 May.

Jack P Shepherd discusses the turning point in one of Corrie’s most talked-about storylines in years, and what finally pushes his character into speaking out.

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How does David feel when Dec confesses he is also a victim of Josh?
It makes a difference to David to know he is not the only one who’s been through this, but he still feels that going public and letting the whole street know is too much.

Does it hit home for David when Dec says he can’t bring himself to go to the police too?
David should feel like with both their words against Josh’s that they have a stronger chance of being believed, but he blames himself and feels he should have been able to stop Josh and that’s because of the mind games  Josh has been playing with him – and probably with Dec too. But this is the point of the storyline, David shouldn’t be scared that he isn’t going to be believed, he shouldn’t feel embarrassed, he should open up and not keep it all bottled up.

What is going through David’s head when he listens to Johnny talk about Aidan?
He hears Johnny pouring his heart out to Peter, saying he wished that Aidan would have talked to him about what was going on in his head and it really hits home. David has been making rash decisions and hurting the ones he loves when the one thing he needs to do is talk.

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Can he see a parallel in his and Aidan’s situation?
Even though David is very extreme in his behaviour sometimes, no one knew what Aidan was dealing with in the same way that no one really knows what David is dealing with, apart from now Shona. We have David at his lowest ebb but he realises that he wants to live, he wants to fight these feelings. He can’t move on until he opens up and for Josh to get punished he has to talk.

Is David still scared of reporting Josh when he decides that’s what he wants to do?
It’s what he has been afraid of since the start but everything changed the moment he told Shona and she believed him. And after hearing Johnny, he knows talking about it is the only way to move forward.

How much does Shona’s support mean?
He is so grateful. Even when David tried to push Shona away and hurt her by moving Emma in, Shona never retaliated to hurt him back. They have always loved each other so it is a massive thing for David that she is with him every step of the way.

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Does David feel like a weight has been lifted when he tells the police?
In David’s head it is all about Josh owning up to what he has done and admitting that he raped David, because at the moment he is still saying that it was consensual. That is really eating David up. 

How hard is it for David to tell Gail and Audrey what happened to him?
When it comes to his family David has always got something up his sleeve, but in that moment David seems powerless which he never really is. This is a men’s mental health story and about encouraging men to talk about things that happen to them rather than bottling them up.

Does it help David to realise he has done the right thing by speaking out?
This is the most important part of the storyline, because it has always been less about the ordeal and more about how David deals with the aftermath. Hopefully this will help someone who has gone through something similar to realise they need to open up and speak to somebody.

Have you had a positive response from viewers?
Yes the storyline has got people taking which is exactly what we set out to do. When you are playing a part, you get on with telling the story but to see the effect it has had is very rewarding so it has been great.

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