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Ofcom dismisses complaints over Coronation Street male date rape scenes

Sebastian Mann May 8, 2018

A Coronation Street storyline which drew complaints for the way it tackled male rape will not be investigated by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

More than 200 viewers protested over two episodes which showed Josh Tucker (Ryan Clayton) drugging then raping David Platt (Jack P. Shepherd) and its aftermath.

An Ofcom spokeswoman said: “This storyline tackled a sensitive and challenging subject, which we appreciate was uncomfortable viewing for some.

Tucker, right, spikes his friend’s drink on a night out together

“However, we considered that ITV took extensive steps to ensure it was handled sensitively and carefully.

“These included working closely with a victim support group, and repeatedly signposting the help available to anyone affected by sexual violence.

“We also considered that, although the offender’s violent intentions were clearly implied, the scenes were neither explicit nor graphic. Finally, we took into account that clear warnings were broadcast before both episodes.”

Related: Coronation Street star feared ‘backlash’ to lesbian love affair

The storyline, which aired in March, centred on Platt, who is date raped by his new friend Tucker, a mechanic.

The pair enjoy a night out drinking, which ends with Platt waking up in his friend’s bed struggling to work out what’s happened.

Jack P Shepherd, who plays Platt, had said before the episodes aired that he understood the gravity of what would be portrayed

As he pieces it together, he has to make a decision about whether to report the attack and in ensuing episodes struggles to cope with the psychological consequences.

Shepherd, who plays Platt in the ITV soap, said before the storyline was aired: “When I was told about the storyline, Kate Oates [the Coronation Street producer] and I met with Duncan from Survivors Manchester and that was when I realised the gravity and significance of the storyline.

Related: Paul O’Grady compares Coronation Street to war-torn Syria

“David’s reaction and decision to remain quiet because he feels ashamed about what has happened is not uncommon.

“Hopefully people will start talking about the storyline and it could help someone who has gone through something similar to realise the need to open up and speak to somebody.”

After viewers complained, Oates said she had anticipated a backlash. “I’m definitely prepared for a mixed response to the rape storyline,” she told the Daily Star.

“I think any soap story of this nature will get a mixed reaction. And that’s okay. That’s part of the reason to do it.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, you can speak to someone in confidence by contacting Rape Crisis England and Wales on their helpline, 0808 802 9999, from 12pm-2.30pm or 7pm-9.30pm. You can also find out more on their website.

More: Coronation Street, date rape, England, Television

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