The grooming storyline has courted much controversy and will continue to do so, up to the point where it plays itself out and the villains of the piece get their comeuppance. Some people feel that such a storyline, involving the abuse of young teenage girls and the manipulation of them by men, several decades older, should not find a place in a soap opera.
Why though, are people objecting to this particular storyline, when other controversial storylines are accepted without a murmur?
Coronation Street has never been shy of an issue - often issues which divide opinion. There has been surrogacy, assisted suicide, gender reassignment, clinical depression, endless affairs and betrayals, murders, attempted murders, domestic abuse, bigamy, illegal immigration, gambling addictions, child abduction, teenage pregnancy, stillbirth, sham marriage and the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s Disease, to name just some. Each of these issues makes for difficult viewing, so why does the grooming storyline, in particular, cause so many to be upset?
Coronation Street must keep up with the times and though I’m sure that grooming in some form or another has always taken place, it is at the forefront of our awareness, because of the Rotherham, Rochdale, Oxford and other scandals, where vulnerable girls have been abused. And some boys too.
Maybe people take the view that soap operas should not tackle current issues, but that would leave the soaps much the weaker. It’s great to have the comedy and the conversations, but, in my view at least, it needs some grit, otherwise it would fail in its attempt to mirror, at least to some extent, real life. What keeps us watching is the fact that we can relate to happenings on the cobbles, to the characters, to their problems, their joys and their disappointments – all of which we, in our turn, at some point in our lives, experience.
This storyline must be seen through. It would be false if Bethany suddenly saw the light and ran home to Sarah. Also, the after effects will be heart breaking and drawn out, once Bethany has finally seen the truth - as she surely will.By Ruth Owen, twitter: @Ruth1722
Tvor @tvordlj on Twitter