Coronation Street has been cleared by TV watchdog Ofcom following complaints about scenes of bullying and torture.

The episode, broadcast last year, was linked to womaniser Charlie Stubbs’ affair with hairdresser Maria in the ITV1 soap. Builder Charlie (Bill Ward) lured teenager David Platt (Jack Shepherd) into the flat owned by Maria (Samia Smith) after David spent weeks taunting him about the affair.

Charlie tied David’s hands behind his back, made him kneel next to a bath full of water and forced his head under water, before viewers saw him stop when Maria unexpectedly returned to the flat.

Ofcom received 31 complaints that the scenes, broadcast in October, were unacceptable because they featured bullying and torture. Viewers complained that the behaviour might be imitated and should not have been on before the watershed.

ITV1 said the audience knew that Charlie was a womanising bully and were prepared for the confrontation. The broadcaster said the words “Charlie has a nasty surprise for David” before the programme hinted at what was to come.

Ofcom said: “Even if there were some risk of imitation, we believe that the scenes were editorially justified by the plot development, the characters involved and the manner in which it was edited.”