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9 reasons why Coronation Street’s Aidan Connor suicide episode was a soap triumph

9 reasons why Coronation Street’s Aidan Connor suicide episode was a soap triumph
10 May
4:13
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Coronation Street, Aidan Suicide, Review

Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide, which some readers may find upsetting.

Coronation Street aired one of the most emotional and haunting episodes in its history on Wednesday evening (May 9), as news of Aidan Connor’s suicide affected almost everyone on the cobbles.

Following Shayne Ward’s final appearance as Aidan earlier this week, the latest visit to Weatherfield saw life for the Connor family change forever as he was found dead in the bathroom of his flat.

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As fans dry their tears after the deeply affecting watch, we’re rounding up nine reasons why this episode was one of the show’s biggest-ever triumphs.

1. The message

David Platt confides in Shona Ramsey in Coronation Street

Coronation Street‘s current producer Kate Oates is known for her skill at interweaving separate story strands, and the latest example was possibly her best yet. While much of Wednesday’s hour-long special focused on how the tragic loss of Aidan affected the Connors, show bosses always planned to give David Platt the last word.

After being knocked for six by news of Aidan’s death, David finally opened up over his inner turmoil, telling Shona Ramsey the truth about his rape ordeal and how he wrestled with his own suicidal thoughts in the aftermath.

The Corrie team are keen to spread the message that talking about our problems can help and there’s always someone there to listen. After unburdening himself with Shona and feeling uplifted by her strong show of support, David admitted: “I came so close. But I’ve told you and I love you so much. And if today’s taught me anything it’s that, thank God, I want to live.”

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Corrie aired Wednesday’s outing as an hour-long special, without the usual half-hour break, to make sure that viewers didn’t miss their key message at the end of the episode. It’s simple and effective, but one that could save lives.

2. The performances

Eva Price is left devastated in Coronation Street

Coronation Street‘s cast brought their A-game to the aftermath scenes as news of Aidan’s death spread among his family and then around the rest of the Street too.

Catherine Tyldesley (Eva), Richard Hawley (Johnny), Faye Brookes (Kate), Alison King (Carla), Kym Marsh (Michelle) and Samia Longchambon (Maria) gave particularly moving performances as their characters all grieved for Aidan in their own ways, while Jack P Shepherd continued to do amazing work as David.

Those most closely involved were also ably supported by the likes of David Neilson (Roy), Sally Ann Matthews (Jenny), Georgia Taylor (Toyah), Tristan Gemmill (Robert) and the Street’s rising star Julia Goulding (Shona).

3. Reflecting the scale of the problem

Aidan Connor receives Carla's present in Coronation Street
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Research shows that 84 men take their own lives in Britain each week and suicide is the biggest single killer of men under the age of 45. Corrie helped to highlight the scale of the problem as it became clear just how many of the Street’s familiar faces were affected.

As well as David’s carefully crafted scenes, Robert Preston mentioned how he once knew a man who took his own life. Just like with Aidan, there’d been few outward signs to suggest that Robert’s friend was struggling in the weeks before his death.

Daniel Osbourne also opened up over his own experiences, mentioning to Robert how he had a “friend” who’d also contemplated suicide. With Robert well aware that Daniel was really talking about himself, it was a genuinely touching moment as he subtly showed his support and his willingness to listen in the future.

4. The sense of community

Carla, Jenny and Johnny Connor discuss the situation in Coronation Street

One of the greatest strengths of soap is showing how big events like births, marriages and deaths bring the whole community together, for better or worse.

In the case of Aidan, time seemed to stand still on the cobbles as everyone on the Street took the time to reflect on the sad loss of one of their own. From the Bistro being closed out of respect, to the factory staff receiving the news, Carla and Michelle putting their differences aside, and Peter’s desire to see his troubled son Simon and give him a hug, there was a sense that nobody would go unaffected by recent events.

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5. Gail’s speech

Gail Rodwell agrees to keep Shona Ramsey's secret in Coronation Street

Special mention has to go to Helen Worth, who was given one of the most memorable scenes in the episode in her role as Gail. Staring out from her front window, the soap legend drew on her 44-year history on the show as she gave her own thoughts on the tragedy.

Speaking to Audrey, a sombre Gail said: “40-odd years I’ve lived on this Street. That same view every day. Practically know every cobble back to front. I like to think we look out for each other round here. And without being nosy, know what’s going on in each other’s lives.

“But you don’t, do you? I hope I’d have listened, if he’d ever wanted to speak to me. I can’t stop thinking about poor Johnny. His son’s not coming home tonight. I just hope to God mine is.”

6. Everyone staying in character

Kirk Sutherland takes some advice from Tyrone Dobbs over Beth in Coronation Street

It’s important to remember that Corrie is a soap rather than a public information film and it wouldn’t be realistic for the Street’s residents to suddenly start acting out of character to suit the storyline. With this in mind, we saw varied reactions to Aidan’s death which fitted each individual character perfectly.

From Roy’s awkwardness, to Kate’s anger, Carla trying to stay strong, and even Beth Sutherland’s insensitive remarks over Aidan’s tragedy, Corrie kept it real by showing a wide cross-section of responses.

7. The sensitivity

Johnny Connor in Coronation Street
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Corrie‘s team have worked closely with charities like Samaritans and CALM while creating Aidan’s storyline, wanting to explore the taboo issue of suicide responsibly. The Samaritans acknowledge that there can be risks associated with exploring suicide on screen, but have consulted closely on scripts to minimise this.

Corrie has wisely avoided any graphic scenes and we didn’t see Aidan after he died. At this point, there has also been no reference to the method of suicide used. Quite rightly, Corrie is putting the spotlight firmly on Aidan and the devastating impact on those who have been left behind.

8. The writing and directing

Johnny Connor makes an upsetting discovery in Coronation Street

It’d be wrong not to give a nod to those who worked on this episode behind the scenes too. The hour-long episode was written by Jonathan Harvey, a veteran Corrie scriptwriter who’s perhaps best known for the comedy in his usual episodes. In this case though, the long-serving scribe has done absolute justice to one of the most dramatic and harrowing episodes the soap has seen.

David Kester, who’s worked with Corrie since 1999, was on directing duties and also did a brilliant job at making this episode visually memorable. The picturesque shots from above the Street helped to set the tone for an episode that we’ll all remember for a long time to come.

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9. The possibilities for the future

Johnny Connor has questions for Toyah Battersby and Eva Price in Coronation Street

Even with such serious subject matter, soaps thrive on posing new questions and possibilities for the future with each episode. As well as expertly dealing with a topical and taboo issue, Corrie has done more than enough to keep us hooked and tuning in to find out what happens next.

Will Eva and Toyah be able to carry on with their secret baby deal in light of what’s happened? Will Aidan’s family ever find out that he’s Susie’s father? And can the Connors pull together or will this tear them apart?

Coronation Street continues on Friday (May 9) at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.


We would encourage anyone who identifies with Aidan’s story to reach out. Organisations who can offer support include Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), and Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) also has helplines available from 5pm to midnight, 365 days a year, on 0800 58 58 58 (nationwide) and 0808 802 58 58 (London) (www.thecalmzone.net/).

Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255 or visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.


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Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street spoilers, as the Connors struggle after Aidan’s death and Zeedan struggles to let Rana go.

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