Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has revealed that the ITV soap made the services of a therapist available for cast and crew affected by an upcoming plotline that sees Aidan Connor take his own life.
Aidan – played by star Shayne Ward – will be found dead by dad Johnny in traumatic scenes to be shown by next week. Speaking at a recent press conference Oates said she felt that she duty of care towards all those involved in producing the episodes:
‘We’re a massive company at Coronation Street and everybody has a very different experience of suicide. For some people, working on these episodes was really tough.
“We wrote to everybody and made it clear that they didn’t have to work on these episodes if they didn’t want to. We also had a therapist who people could talk to if they wanted to.”
Speaking about her experience behind the scenes while the storyline was in production, Oates added: “I’ve had discussions with departments that I don’t cross with every day.
“We’ve had the most frank conversations, where people shared their own experiences with family members and friends because they want to talk about it.
“I’ve walked out of rooms feeling so close to people that I barely know because they’ve opened up. It’s been a cathartic experience and has improved the health of the building.”
Asked recently how he felt for it to be his character who takes his own life, actor Shayne 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.”
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