Coronation Street actor Chris Harper, whose character Nathan Curtis is involved in a controversial grooming storyline, has revealed he met real life sex abuse victims to help him portray the role accurately and sensitively.

Coronation Street actor Chris Harper has revealed he met victims of sexual abuse to prepare him for his harrowing grooming storyline.

The actor – who plays Nathan in the soap – has been seen starting to groom 16-year-old Bethany Platt (Lucy Fallon), and next week viewers will see him lure her back to his flat.

Speaking to the Sunday People about the controversial new storyline, he revealed he felt a responsibility to portray the role sensitively and accurately, so he met with victims of sexual abuse to hear their stories.

“It’s massively important I get this right for them,” he said. “We want to reach out to people to let them know help is out there, and to tell ­abusers they can’t get away with it.

“It’s the most important storyline I’ve ever had.

“Half the problem is getting people to come forward. It’s been said that for every one ­person reporting abuse, another seven don’t.”

Last week the NSPCC introduced Chris to a child abuse victim, now 20, who has been advising the show’s writers.

Chris first appeared on the soap as Nathan, the ex of Shona, back in November.

At Christmas, Bethany’s revelation that she had a crush on Gary Windass left her humiliated to the point that she took a heap of diet pills and collapsed.

When Nathan found the troubled teen, (played by 21-year-old Lucy) he told her she could contact him any time – which appeared to signify the beginning of a sinister relationship.

Bethany has also been the victim of a spate of bullying at school, making her especially vulnerable to Nathan’s affections.

The teen – who returned to Weatherfield from Italy with mum Sarah in 2015 – has so far yet to settle into a quiet routine, as she has been keen to stir up strife and trouble at every opportunity.

The soap will show Nathan exploiting her innocence and naivety.
Corrie’s bosses hope that by airing Nathan’s grooming storyline pre-watershed they may reach out to children and vulnerable young people aged up to 18 who could be watching, perhaps with their families.
Coronation Street continues next week on ITV1.