Coronation Street is to explore the devastating effects of historic child sexual abuse within a family.

Shocking news is heading towards Gemma Winter in Coronation Street.

“Gemma and Paul’s family background has always been fascinating to me – the inseparable bond of twins but with a huge fault-line down the middle, which we’ve hinted at but never explained. This story sensitively explores something that is tragically all too common in families in the real world and will highlight the way these painful events still reverberate many years later. It will, I hope, allow people who have survived similar abuse and perhaps suffered in silence to find their voice and speak up. It will also showcase the brilliant talents of Peter Ash, Dolly-Rose Campbell, Jane Hazlegrove and Corrie newcomer Joe Alessi in some incredibly challenging, powerful scenes. I am very proud of this story.” – Producer Iain MacLeod

Gemma Winter’s world is set to be torn apart when it is revealed that her twin brother Paul was sexually abused by their stepdad Kel. In the coming weeks Kel will come back into their lives when Gemma and Paul’s mum Bernie is reunited with her ex ITV Granada have revealed.

It soon becomes evident that whilst Gemma and Bernie welcome Kel back into the fold, Paul is unnerved by his return and is struggling having him around.

“I have known about this storyline for some time so have had the opportunity to speak to Duncan Craig at Survivors Manchester in advance of filming which has been great. His experience was really similar to Paul’s so it was invaluable for me to be able 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 filming the male rape storyline and he told me about the increase in calls to Survivors Manchester off the back of it which is incredible. It’s an important storyline and I want to get it right.” – actor Peter Ash

Gemma will be bemused to why twin Paul isn’t keen to see their stepdad.

“Following on from our work on the David Platt rape storyline, I am delighted that Coronation Street have once again asked us at Survivors Manchester to help them with this sensitive storyline. We learned so much together before and the effort made last time is allowing us to tackle the finer and complex details of Paul’s feelings and behaviour. This story is going to resonate with so many male survivors, I’m proud of Coronation Street for committing to making sure it’s right.” – Duncan Craig from Survivors Manchester

Unbeknownst to Gemma and Bernie, Paul was sexually abused as a young teenager by Kel and the innocent boy was groomed into believing he and Kel were in a consensual relationship. However, when Paul’s partner Billy Mayhew discovers his secret he points out to Paul that he was a young child and was in fact being sexually abused by Kel.

The heartbreaking story will explore Paul’s struggle to come to terms with what happened to him and his ultimate fight for justice. As the story develops Bernie will find it difficult to cope with the fact that she had no idea what was going on under her own roof. Coronation Street producers and writers are working closely with Survivors Manchester who are advising on the story.

The plot follows on the recent Emmerdale storyline that saw a grooming plot when teacher Maya seduced schoolboy Jacob. Coronation Street has also recently covered issues such as male rape and the grooming of long-running character Bethany Platt who was sexually exploited by experienced groomer Nathan Curtis, who coerced her into having sex with other men and attempted to traffic her to Belgium.

“Peter (Ash) and I have been talking a lot about how Paul would be feeling and I have shared some of my own experiences of breaking my silence which Peter has handled with so much care. I know this story will be difficult but as a survivor I have to say it is vital if we are to understand male sexual violence and abuse. Well done Corrie for being brave enough to tell this true story. Once again, I’m proud to stand with Coronation Street in telling a difficult story as truthfully and as sensitively as possible. Their commitment to being authentic to real life issues is inspiring and I know first-hand the actual impact of these stories being told – our last piece of work together resulted in a 1700% increase in calls to the male survivor helpline!” – Duncan Craig from Survivors Manchester

Actress Jane Hazlegrove has recently arrived in Weatherfield as Bernie Winter, mother of Paul and Gemma.
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