Coronation Street villain Graeme Hawley has said that he’s been ‘staying underground’ to avoid fans who want to attack him.

Graeme’s character, teacher John Stape, is currently one of the most hated men in soapland, after kidnapping ex-lover Rosie Webster and locking her in his grandmother’s house.

Speaking at the recent launch of Coronation Street’s Out of Africa DVD, Graeme joked: “This is a rare public appearance; otherwise I get loads of women chasing me with bags of frozen peas.”

Joking aside, Graeme revealed that the public backlash hasn’t been as bad as he imagined.

He revealed: “To be honest loads of people have been coming up and saying: ‘Oh, you’re a rotter,’ but people are really enjoying the storyline. I’ve got lots of positive feedback. It’s been great.”

Graeme added that he hopes there is a future for John, despite his crime.

“I hope so, and I’m sure my bank manager hopes so,” he laughed. “I think there is a chance for him because at the heart of it is a woman and a man who are in love with each other, and I think there’s always hope in those kind of situations.

“I know it sounds mushy, but yeah, maybe from that point of view, possibly. You never know. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Coronation Street: Out of Africa is released on DVD today (Monday).