Coronation Street viewers have complained about the show’s controversial child grooming storyline as the plot thickened in Wednesday night’s episode.
The ITV soap saw teenager Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon) take things to the next level with her older boyfriend Nathan Curtis (Chris Harper) by attending a party with his friends.
While his friend Mel encouraged Bethany to get a contraceptive implant, Nathan spoke to another friend about letting him “see a bit more” of his young girlfriend.
But viewers thought it marked a step too far for the 7.30pm programme.
Last month, Lucy admitted that she felt uncomfortable watching herself in the scenes, but said that child grooming was a crucial issue for the show to tackle at a time that would target young viewers.
Nathan, an ambassador for sexual abuse charity Voicing CSA, agreed that the popular soap had a responsibility to open communication about the subject.
Barnardo’s children’s charity, which provides support for young people facing sexual exploitation, praised writers for confronting the issue.
Referring viewers to the organisation’s specialist services, chief executive Javed Khan said: “This storyline makes for difficult watching but it’s important as many people as possible are aware of the signs of grooming, so we can prevent this abuse happening.
“Like Bethany’s character, the young victims of this crime mistakenly think these child sex abusers care for them because they’re often showered with presents and attention.
“But alcohol and mobile phones can be used to control and manipulate them into doing things they don’t want to do.”