Coronation Street is set to tackle the issue of hate crime when Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin are subjected to an unprovoked violent attack because of her alternative identity.
Working alongside The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, Coronation Street decided to tell the hard-hitting storyline to explore social intolerance and prejudice so often suffered by people from stigmatised minority groups.
In scenes which will air next month, Seb and Nina will be subjected to a violent assault which has similarities to what happened to Sophie Lancaster in 2007, when she and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were set upon and beaten in a park simply because of the way they looked. As a consequence of the attack, Sophie sadly died from her injuries.
In the dramatic episodes to be screened in early May the couple are out walking when Corey and a gang of drunken mates including Kelly Neelan, corner and goad the pair.
As Corey starts hurling abuse, Kelly finds herself egged on by the crowd and slaps Nina. Seb and Nina hurry away as the gang gives chase and they find themselves subject to an unprovoked attack.
Back on the Street Abi and Kevin’s hen and stag night parties are brought to an abrupt halt when the police arrive with news of the attack. As Abi and Roy rush to the hospital to be with Seb and Nina, the police start the investigation to get to the bottom of which of the teenage gang was responsible for the vicious assault that has left the young couple with horrific injuries.
On the importance of tackling this storyline Coronation Street Producer Iain MacLeod said: "The issue of intolerance and hatred towards people from different cultures and subcultures is arguably more relevant now than it’s ever been. This incredibly hard-hitting storyline, which centres on a senseless act of violence, will draw in characters from all corners of our narrative universe and will, we hope, leave the audience with a clear message: Everyone, regardless of how they look, how they dress or any aspect of how they live their life, should be treated with tolerance and respect...
"The story will run across the rest of the year and beyond, with many twists and turns, and will be heartbreaking and dramatic in equal measure. In the end, the story will see an optimistic outcome emerge from the traumatic attack."