Corrie's Peter Ash explains why historic sex abuse storyline is "important"

Daisy Phillipson
Photo credit: ITV

From Digital Spy

Coronation Street actor Peter Ash has opened up about the historic child sex abuse storyline centred around his character Paul Foreman.

Gemma and Paul's stepfather Kel arrived on the cobbles this week after Bernie bumped into him, unaware that he once groomed her son when he was just a child.

Photo credit: ITV

The storyline is set to take a turn next week as Billy learns the truth about Paul's harrowing past.

Opening up about Paul’s attitude towards Kel, Peter said: “Paul feels pretty conflicted because he didn’t realise he was being groomed when he was younger, he felt that he was in a consensual relationship with Kel and as a consequence had very strong feelings for Kel.

Photo credit: ITV

“Of course the truth is that he was being abused and has still not realised that was the case. He also feels shame and guilt because no one else knows what happened between the two of them and he was his mum’s partner.

“When Kel first shows up, Paul has his guard up and he is very aggressive towards Kel but it all comes from his confusion about what happened.”

The actor went on to discuss how Billy picks up on Paul’s reaction to Kel turning up, leading him to put two and two together.

Peter then discussed the research he carried out to get the storyline right and why it is so important for viewers to see.

“I have been speaking to Duncan [from Survivors Manchester] and he has been great,” he said.

“His experience was really similar to Paul’s so it was important for me to talk about all the conflicting emotions and not accepting or realising it was abuse until later on in life.

“I have also spoken to Jack P Shepherd about how he found the male rape storyline and he told me about the increase in calls to Survivors Manchester off the back it which is incredible.”

Photo credit: ITV

Paul added: “As horrific as the subject matter is, I want this storyline to raise awareness. It is important because it happens and so many people are affected by this.

Coronation Street tackles issue-based storylines really well and as truthfully as possible. It’s important for people to see it play out on television as people may see things and situations that they recognise and seek help.”

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).

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