Hollyoaks is to tackle the subject of gay rape, when teacher John Paul McQueen is attacked by a homophobic pupil.

Viewers of the Channel 4 soap have seen gay teacher John Paul suffering months of homophobic abuse from his 16-year-old pupil Finn O’Connor (Keith Rice).

James Sutton, who plays John Paul, told Digital Spy: “I visited Survivors Manchester with a view to how to handle the upcoming storyline with the realism and sensitivity that it demands. I was very moved by the bravery of the survivors that I met.

“It is not just one event – it will follow the consequences of what happens to the character after going through an extremely traumatic attack and how it changes him as a person. Hollyoaks has a history of examining important issues and I am really looking forward to telling the story.”

Hollyoaks executive producer Bryan Kirkwood added: “Hollyoaks is known for not patronising its audience, but for finding ways to talk about difficult issues like Hannah’s anorexia, Esther’s bullying and Ste’s domestic violence in a gay relationship within the constraints of a tea-time soap.

“The storyline will follow the journey of what happens to John Paul after he becomes a victim of rape, but also will examine the far-reaching consequences for all of those around him and also for the perpetrator. Keith and James are both extremely skilled young actors who I am confident will tell this story with skill and empathy.”

Hollyoaks previously dealt with the subject of male rape in 2000, when heterosexual footballer Luke Morgan, played by Gary Lucy, was gang raped by members of his football team.