Coronation Street have kicked off a brave and dark storyline that will see Bethany gradually groomed into a world of sexual exploitation. As she is fooled and ends up falling for charming Nathan, even embarking on a full relationship with him, it’s just the beginning of a nightmare that leaves her in very serious danger.
As the storyline grows deeper and darker, I was delighted to get the opportunity to chat with Chris Harper who plays sinister Nathan Curtis. Chris talks us through whats ahead for his character and an insight of the inspiration behind the gripping story...
How did the opportunity to be on Corrie first come about?
I was invited to audition for Mary's son but then the casting team thought I had a nasty glint in my eye. (That's a scoop- no one knows that!)
Nathan is quite a massive role to take on! Were you ever in doubt about playing him?
It's an issue really close to my heart so no, I never doubted what an opportunity playing Nathan was. It's also fun playing someone so horrid!
How dark are things going to get for Bethany?
Can't give anything away, but in terms of Nathan's plans, we're just at the tip of the iceberg
Have you done any research or based the storyline on any real life cases?
The storyline is based on several real cases unfortunately, and I have been lucky enough to talk to some very race survivors and some police and social services workers.
Are you hoping that this will raise further awareness for young people out there who are watching?
Its a great part, in a great Soap, but raising awareness is at the centre of what we are doing. Tv interviews, magazines, marathon running- some of it is nerve wracking or exhausting but nothing compared to what people like Bethany are put through- and there's help out there. Raising awareness of the love and support available is paramount.
How have you found working alongside Lucy Fallon?
Lucy is lovely- and very talented. She thinks I'm very old fashioned and a bit odd!
Are you ever nervous on how viewers might react to Nathan?
I was and still continue to be quite nervous about the public's reaction to Nathan, but so far on twitter, in fan mail and face to face people have been really nice. I'm an actor, saying other people's words, wearing my character's clothes and, in this case, part of something much bigger and more important than one soap villain. People seem to get that and have been very supportive.
Should Nathan be worried about facing the wrath of the Platts?
Nathan vs The Platts! You know the clock is ticking on that meeting.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced playing this character and storyline?
The biggest challenge has been hearing the true stories of victims. We're a much loved Soap, pre-watershed and it's vital that this sort of subject matter is raised. But the truth is far darker and lasts a lifetime.
Could you give us a mini exclusive on what to expect in the upcoming months?
My exclusive I could give you is for you to keep your eyes on Mel and Shona.
Chris is also fundraising for NSPCC and is taking part in a marathon. If you wish to donate, here's the link: t.co/IMyzARlWNC