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Warning: This article contains discussion of suicide, which some readers may find upsetting.
Coronation Street has confirmed that Aidan Connor will tragically take his own life in scenes to be aired next month.
It was announced last year that actor Shayne Ward would be leaving the ITV soap, but further details surrounding his exit storyline have been kept under wraps until now.
In episodes to be aired next week, viewers will hear that Johnny Connor has discovered his son’s body at his Victoria Street flat, after Aidan failed to turn up for work at the factory.
As the news spreads, his devastated family and friends try to come to terms with the shock of their loss – with many questioning why they hadn’t spotted any signs that he was struggling sooner.
Aidan’s last episode will air on Monday, May 7 when he goes to see Eva – who gave birth to his baby daughter Susie tonight (April 30). His final scene will see him back at his flat alone and no element of the suicide will be shown on screen.
Shayne, the writers and the production team have all been working closely with charities Samaritans and CALM to ensure the storyline is handled sensitively and realistically.
Shayne said: “I am honoured to have been trusted with a storyline like this, it shows the confidence that Kate and the team had in me to be able to play it. When you get given a storyline like this it is a decision that is not taken lightly, I have played it with as much honesty and truth as I could. I am very proud of what I have done in my three years on the show and on this storyline in particular.”
He added: “Aidan is an ‘everyman’ figure, he is someone men can identify with, which is important in telling this story. We hope that anyone who recognises something of themselves in Aidan, will realise they can, and really should, talk about how they’re feeling.
“Talking could have helped Aidan to turn his life around. It could have brought him relief from what he was going through. This is what his loved ones would have wanted. Suicide is a very permanent response to what are usually temporary problems.
“We all know someone who has maybe felt like Aidan did, someone who found it hard to talk and we have all heard stories like Aidan’s when it was too late, when people looked back and wished they had spotted the signs, but it isn’t always possible. If we can encourage someone who is feeling low, who is having the sort of thoughts Aidan was having, to realise they need to talk, then we have achieved what we set out to with this story.”
Corrie producer Kate Oates added: “Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can’t afford to not talk about it.
“Aidan’s story, bravely and brilliantly tackled by Shayne Ward, is designed to give people who hide their feelings of desperation a chance to start a conversation, letting someone know what they’re going through.
“Through this story, we want to assure anyone who feels suicidal that there is always someone who wants to listen and support you: whether a friend, family member, or one of the brilliant charities we have been working with throughout this story. We want to tell people that however bleak they are feeling, there is always another way.”
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.
Suicide is preventable. Readers who are affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org), or 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.
Digital Spy Soap Scoop video – hit play below for all the latest Coronation Street spoilers, as Eva hands over her baby and Jude’s secret comes under threat.
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