CORONATION Street’s grooming storyline involving 16-year-old Bethany Platt has left viewers on edge for months.
Sarah Platt’s daughter has been manipulated by groomer and fiance Nathan Curtis, raped by members of a sex ring and was almost sold as a sex slave abroad – here’s the lowdown…
How did Bethany Platt get involved with Nathan Curtis?
Nathan first appeared on Coronation Street when he found Bethany crying before she passed out after overdosing on diet pills.
He originally came across as an encouraging and likeable character, but that soon faded as viewers discovered he is part of a grooming ring.
Nathan was previously in a relationship with Shona Ramsey, who works at Roy Cropper’s cafe, Roy’s Rolls.
She knew of his shady past but never divulged it.
After encouraging Bethany to start posting make-up tutorials online, Nathan started a relationship with the vulnerable teen.
Despite their huge age gap, Bethany lost her virginity to him and shortly afterwards he was seen talking about “preparing” her for a group of his sick friends.
At a party held at his flat, Bethany was introduced to a room full of strange men, and befriended Mel, who viewers knew was aware of Nathan’s intentions.
In particular, one of his pals, a crocked policeman called Neil, took a shine to the schoolgirl, and was seen on numerous occasions asking when she’ll be “ready”.
He later raped her as Nathan sat in the next room completely aware of what was happening and did nothing to stop it – even thanking her for “looking after him”.
They have since had discussions that suggest the pair have other girls in nearby areas who have also been groomed.
Things took an even more sinister turn when Bethany was raped by three men – and it was all arranged by Nathan.
How did Bethany and Nathan get engaged?
Bethany’s mum Sarah was left devastated when Nathan drove a wedge between herself and her daughter, with Bethany even being convinced to move in with him.
Things reached fever pitch when Gary Windass punched Nathan in the face after a crude comment was made about how a mother and daughter was “every man’s fantasy”.
Nathan later proposed to Bethany to cement her attachment to him even further, to the point where the school girl was in denial about her horrific experience at a sex party he held after a police raid.
Their engagement came after Nathan thanked her for “looking after” his friend Neil, who he forced her to go on a date with and have sex with against her will.
What happens next to Bethany Platt?
After enduring months of abuse at the hands of her twisted boyfriend Nathan and his sick friends, Bethany finally managed to escape their clutches.
Nathan was then put in prison while his police accomplice Neil tried to convince Bethany to lie to the court that she wanted to be a prostitute.
But Bethany told her best friend, young police officer Craig Tinker, the truth about the vile cop and he encouraged her to report Neil.
She finally did so and has been reassured that he will feel the full force of the law – suggesting that her rape ordeal is set to end.
However, a shock twist saw Bethany being kidnapped and viciously attacked by one of Nathan’s accomplices and former victims, Mel.
She did it out of revenge, seeing as Bethany has had all the men she worked with put in prison.
Things are now set to come to a dramatic conclusion as Nathan faces trial for his crimes.
However, the dramatic court scenes involving Bethany and her rapist have sparked controversy in their own right after a blunder from show bosses.
Who plays Bethany Platt and Nathan Curtis?
Chris Harper has played groomer Nathan since December 2016 and first appeared on screen when he found Bethany crying and then passed out after overdosing on diet pills.
Prior to Corrie, he has appeared in a string of short-lived parts and character arcs, including starring in the 2006 TV Movie Housewife, 49, starring in an all-star cast led by the late Victoria Wood.
Other parts have included episodes of Heartbeat, Life on Mars, Holby City and Rosemary and Thyme. Find out more about him here.
Lancashire lass Lucy took on the role of Bethany in 2015, continuing on from the work of three child actors, who played Bethany between 2000 and 2007.
Bethany is Lucy’s first major role. Learn more about Lucy here.
What does Lucy say about the storyline?
Lucy has admitted she broke down in tears while hearing a real-life grooming story, when she did some work with the NSPCC.
She told the Daily Star’s TV Life magazine: “The NSPCC came to talk to us with a girl called Lucy who’d been groomed and who told us her story.
“Hearing that was horrific. It left me in tears. It helped me to understand how people get into these situations.”
Lucy and her cast mates did work with the NSPCC and other child protection charities before performing the scenes.
They all agree the storyline portrays an important issue that young people ought to be more aware of.