Coronation Street star Alison King has revealed her pride at how her recent rape storyline has helped female fans.

Phone calls to rape crisis hotlines are reported to have increased since viewers saw her character Carla Connor being attacked by ex Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel) on the ITV soap last September.

“The reaction from fans has been immense. I have had a lot of letters from women who have come forward since that episode,” she told The Sun.

“There was an 800 per cent increase in the number of people reporting rapes after we did the story, mainly those who had been raped by someone they knew. It shows how hard it is to go and report rape to somebody because people are so scared of their whole life being ripped apart publicly on the stand – and they know the conviction rates are low.”

Frank’s trial, which starts on Coronation Street tonight, will see confident businesswoman Carla being accused of making up the rape to embark on a fling with Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne).

“Carla will be devastated if Frank gets off because she was raped. And no matter what the consequences with Peter, it’s got nothing to do with what happened to her,” Alison added.

The actress reckoned there won’t be a fairytale ending for Carla and her secret lover Peter, telling the Daily Star: “Carla has an eject button and I think she will use it in the end.”