Coronation Street actor Shayne Ward has said the episode that takes place following his character Aidan Connor’s suicide was “a very tough watch”.
The former X Factor star also said he was “instantly scared, nervous and heartbroken” when he first learned he would be involved in the male suicide storyline several months ago.
Ward’s final appearance on screen will be in an episode on Monday, followed by an hour-long broadcast on Wednesday, showing the impact of his death on the show’s characters.
I knew the impact it was going to have on the public when it airedShayne Ward
Aidan’s father Johnny will discover his son’s body in his flat after he fails to turn up to work at the Underworld factory.
As the news of his death spreads around Weatherfield, Aidan’s friends and family begin to question why they had not noticed any signs that he was struggling to cope with problems in his life.
Ward told This Morning: “I watched the whole episode yesterday and that was a very tough watch.
“Of course my scenes that I do are very distressing, but to watch the aftermath of how it affects people in different ways, that was the most important thing because not everyone is going to have the same opinion on it.
“And it was very, very cleverly done, it’s not in your face, it’s quite a subtle message we’re trying to get out there without saying, ‘you should talk’.”
He said that character David Platt (Jack P Shepherd), who has been struggling with mental health issues since he was drugged and raped, will then realise following Aidan’s suicide that he does not want to die.
Ward said, of finding out about the storyline just before Christmas: “I was full of all different emotions. I was instantly scared, nervous and heartbroken as I knew this was more than a just a storyline.
“I knew the impact it was going to have on the public when it aired.”
NEWS: Coronation Street is to highlight the important issue of male suicide when Aidan Connor tragically takes his own life.— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) April 30, 2018
Read more: https://t.co/aUykbsMmHs #Corrie #AidanConnor #ShayneWard pic.twitter.com/Jon2CfjBDY
He added: “There’s always been something underlying with Aidan.
“The viewers would have seen it. That’s the message we were trying to get out that sometimes it’s not as plain to see and you have to look a little deeper but all the signs were there with Aidan. That’s the scary thing about it.”
The ITV soap has been working closely with charities Samaritans and Calm to ensure the storyline was handled sensitively and realistically, and it has been made clear that no scenes depicting the suicide will air.
Coronation Street producer Kate Oates has also defended the soap against criticism that it has become too dark.
She told ITV’s Lorraine: “The best formula for Corrie – you want stories that matter and say something, you want good drama and then you want classic Corrie elements within that as well.
“That’s the Holy Trinity of what makes Corrie really, really strong.”
Oates added: “We’re six episodes a week now. What’s great is, there’s more Corrie, but the ratings are higher.
“So, although I understand that people say this is dark and maybe this isn’t for me, actually people aren’t turning off, more people are turning on and I can’t fail but be happy about that. I think the team have done a good job.”