Note: The following article contains discussion of themes including child sexual abuse that some readers may find upsetting.
Coronation Street aired heartbreaking scenes on Monday (September 16) as the truth about the abuse Paul Foreman endured as a teenager came to light.
Recent episodes have seen Paul (Peter Ash) increasingly at odds with his estranged mum Bernie Winter (Jane Hazlegrove) for her part in the pregnancy test scam, as well her reconciliation with old flame Kel Hinchley (Joe Alessi).
Tensions rose again to start off this week as Paul concocted a plan to get rid of them both by having someone call into No.5 threatening to go public about the pregnancy test scam.
It wasn't long before Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) figured out her brother's involvement when she overheard this caller on the phone to Paul in the kebab shop… and realised he'd roped Chesney (Sam Aston) into helping him.
The day went from bad to worse when Bernie announced to the family that she wanted their full support because she was giving her relationship with Kel another shot.
Later, Kel stopped Paul outside the Rovers, leaving him stunned by claiming that what they'd had in the past was "special". Paul then made it clear that he wanted Kel gone.
When Kel made a quick exit from the cobbles soon after, Bernie blamed her son for making him feel unwelcome. The family drama confused Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank), so he questioned Gemma in an attempt to get to the bottom of the feud.
Gemma explained that Kel and Paul were 'wrestling buddies' when he was younger, but that all changed when Paul's behaviour worsened at age 14. His anger towards Kel broke up their mum's relationship at the time.
"Paul, he started making our lives a living hell," Gemma remembered. "Everything went downhill after that."
Billy suspected there was more to the story than meets the eye, especially after hearing that Paul was just 14 years old at the time, and when he tried to speak with Paul, their discussion took a disturbing turn.
"What happened to that happy little kid that Gemma knew?" Billy asked. "What made him so angry at everything? What did Kel do to you, Paul?"
Paul reacted furiously, insisting he'd always been "hard" and demanded that Billy "never ever come near" him or his sister ever again. The episode closed with Billy increasingly concerned for Paul.
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 (www.nspcc.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline on (1-800-422-4453) or the American SPCC (www.americanspcc.org).
Rape Crisis England and Wales works towards the elimination of all forms of sexual violence and sexual misconduct. If you’ve been affected by the issues raised in this story, you can access more information on their website or by calling the National Rape Crisis Helpline on 0808 802 9999. Rape Crisis Scotland’s helpline number is 08088 01 03 02.
Readers in the US are encouraged to contact RAINN, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline on 800-656-4673.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street spoilers, as Paul's traumatic past is revealed and James confides in Bethany about his sexuality.
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