To keep Bethany where he wants her, Nathan knows he now has to distance her from friends and family, Chris Harper tells Soaplife

Nasty Nathan has lured Bethany into his world of sexual abuse. His next step is to alienate her from her loved ones. “It starts with Bethany’s friend Craig [Colson Smith] as Nathan’s sussed that he could be someone she may confide in,” Chris Harper tells Soaplife. “So when Craig comes into the tanning salon to see Bethany, Nathan persuades her that Craig is a weirdo who’s obsessed with her.” Then he sets about alienating her mum Sarah…

Did Nathan anticipate problems with Bethany’s family?
“Not so much, but he sees Bethany [Lucy Fallon] as being valuable enough to put up with it and ultimately sort it out. Nathan’s feeling very confident and feels his sickening plan for grooming Bethany to go with other men is going well.”

How does he intend to deal with suspicious Sarah (Tina O’Brien)?
“He intends to charm her and talk her round. The sad truth is that a lot of real-life cases exist where the perpetrator has made friends with the mum or the dad.”

And he uses Sarah’s fella, Gary, doesn’t he?
Gary [Mikey North] doesn’t have the emotional investment in Bethany, and Nathan knows that. Nathan just knows how to use someone like Gary. It’s really icky.”

Where does Nathan fit on the list of sex predators?
“Bethany is over 16 and, in actual fact, the police have termed me a hebephile, which is someone who likes someone who’s going through puberty, which is grim.”

Does Nathan care about Bethany at all?
“Only what he can get from her. We’ll see him getting a real ego boost from handing her over to other men. I’m stealing this partly from how they’ve written Nathan but also from conversations with the police, who’ve described people like him.”

How do you find playing such a deviant character?
“It makes me really uncomfortable at times. The storyline where it’s going now is quite hard to act as well; there’s some horrible stuff coming up. But it’s a subject that needs addressing.”

You’ve become an ambassador for a charity as a result of this storyline, haven’t you?
“Yes – for Voicing CSA. They’re a brilliant charity, opening up a talk group and community organised by survivors and the support network they have for each other is so moving. It’s amazing that some survivors have already come forward due to this storyline.”

Coronation Street, ITV