Coronation Street has consulted with the family of a woman who was killed for her goth style as part of a new storyline that will see an alternative character attacked.
Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were violently assaulted by a group of young people after being set upon in a park in an unprovoked attack in 2007. She died from her injuries in hospital 13 days later, aged 20 years old.
Now, a similar story will play out on the ITV soap as Nina Lucas (Mollie Gallagher), a goth, and Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) are targeted by youths in a hate crime.
The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up by Sophie's mother Sylvia following her death and aims to educate about differences, encouraging respect and understanding for subcultures.
The programme has worked alongside the foundation on the new "hard-hitting" storyline on social intolerance.
Sylvia said: "I know first-hand the abuse, harassment and violence that alternative people suffer. Hate crime is usually directed at already stigmatised and minority groups and Sophie was assaulted three times before that final, sustained and brutal attack that took her life - but she never reported the earlier assaults.
"Coronation Street covering this issue means such a huge amount to me. We want alternative people to know that they shouldn’t be putting up with this prejudice and intolerance, and they should report it. We want the wider community to really appreciate the horror of this violence and understand that difference in itself, is not frightening, it just makes us all who we are.
"We will also use this platform to continue raising awareness of Sophie’s case with the police and judiciary to make sure that hate crime against alternative people is recognised and treated with the degree of severity that it deserves.”
Meanwhile, producer Iain MacLeod said: “The issue of intolerance and hatred towards people from different cultures and subcultures is arguably more relevant now than it’s ever been.
“This incredibly hard-hitting storyline, which centres on a senseless act of violence, will draw in characters from all corners of our narrative universe and will, we hope, leave the audience with a clear message – everyone, regardless of how they look, how they dress or any aspect of how they live their life, should be treated with tolerance and respect.”
He added: “The story will run across the rest of the year and beyond, with many twists and turns, and will be heartbreaking and dramatic in equal measure.
“In the end, the story will see an optimistic outcome emerge from the traumatic attack.”
The storyline will begin airing next month.
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