Iconic British soap opera Coronation Street is set to feature an upcoming storyline inspired by the death of Sophie Lancaster.
The long-running TV show will tackle the issue of hate crime when goth character Nina Lucas and her boyfriend Seb Franklin are attacked in the street by a gang of teenagers.
“The issue of intolerance and hatred towards people from different cultures and subcultures is arguably more relevant now than it’s ever been,” says Coronation Street producer Iain MacLeod.
Nina, played by actor Mollie Gallagher, was introduced in 2019 as the niece of café owner Roy Cropper. As well as sporting a distinctive goth image, the character regularly namedrops bands such as Ruins Of Beverast and Cradle Of Filth (the latter’s music has even been played in the show).
The upcoming hate crime storyline was inspired by the murder of Sophie Lancaster, who died at the age of 20 as the result of injuries from an unprovoked attack in her hometown of Bacup, Lancashire in 2007.
Coronation Street’s producers worked closely on the storyline with The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, the organisation set up by Sophie’s mother, Sylvia.
“I know first-hand the abuse, harassment and violence that alternative people suffer,” says Sylvia Lancaster. “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.”
The hate crime storyline involving Nina and Seb is set to run in early May.