Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has revealed she had fears that the upcoming storyline in which Aidan Connor takes his own life would lead to viewers copying his actions.
“I was most nervous about imitative behaviour, which is someone doing it because they’d seen it here,” Oates said to RadioTimes.com. “I took some private, personal advice on that from a couple of friends who work in mental health. And I also thought about my own experiences while training with Samaritans [Oates previously worked on helplines with the charity].
“I strongly believe that not talking about it isn’t working, so I think it’s important to raise the subject.”
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Actor Shayne Ward’s final scenes as Aidan will see him sitting alone in his flat and in tears, with dad Johnny set to discover the body of his son in the following episode. Coronation Street has already stressed that no element of the suicide will be shown on screen.
Speaking about the decision not to show the means used by Aidan to kill himself, director David Kester said:
“It wasn’t necessary, dramatically. Pretty much the whole scene where Carla goes into the flat and finds Johnny with the body is played on an empty door frame, which is quite powerful, I think. You don’t want to see what they’re seeing. They don’t want to see what they’re seeing. So, if anything, it helped the drama.”
Added Oates: “What the family doesn’t know is why Aidan has done this, which leads to them asking whether they could have changed it. Could he have come back from the brink? That’s the main thing.”
On the topic of the Connors not spotting the warning signs that Aidan had hit rock bottom, actor Shayne Ward said earlier this week:
“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. But it isn’t always possible to spot a person who’s struggling to cope with life.”
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