Coronation Street viewers have been left “gutted” following the death of a main character.
ITV broadcast two episodes on Friday (7 May) and, in emotional scenes, Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) died from his injuries after being attacked by a gang of thugs, including Corey Brent (Maximus Evans).
Seb became the source of violence after his girlfriend Nina Lucas (Mollie Gallagher) was mocked for her alternative identity, a storyline that mirrors elements of the real-life Sophie Lancaster case of 2007.
Producers have closely worked with the foundation set up in Sophie’s name as the plot has developed.
Viewers have expressed their shock and sadness over Seb’s death, while also praising the show for telling the story so sensitively.
Visinoni has played Seb on the soap for five years.
“Bloody hell, I didn’t think he would die,” one fan wrote, adding: “I was loving the Nina and Seb storyline. Gutted.”
Metro’s soaps reporter Stephen Patterson called the episodes “incredibly powerful” with another fan adding: “I’m just like in shock. I never thought that Coronation Street would make me that emotional.”
“It’s brutal but it’s important to show the reality of these kind of attacks,” one viewer wrote. They continued: “Hopefully people will think twice before hurting somebody because of how they look.”
One disappointed viewer wrote: “Big, big mistake losing Seb. The actors playing Seb and Nina had a lovely charisma, there could have been many great storylines ahead because they were so relatable.”
Praise has also been heaped on the performance of Sally Carman, the actor who plays Seb’s mum in the soap.
Ahead of the episode, ITV set up a page with more information about hate crimes and a list of organisations who can offer support and advice.