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Powerful racism storyline announced for the Bailey family in Corrie

Baroness Doreen Lawrence consulted on the storyline which was due to air on Stephen Lawrence Day (22nd April) and shine a light on the damaging effects of racist verbal abuse.

Due to Coronavirus, the new scheduling and rationing of soaps has meant the storyline will now air a month later than planned.

"It is a huge privilege to have someone of the standing of Baroness Lawrence consult with us on this episode. I really believe that her input, and the contributions of the cast playing the Bailey family as we workshopped the scripts, have resulted in an episode with real weight and authenticity." said Corrie producer Iain MacLeod.

Viewers will see Ed Bailey, played by Trevor Michael Georges, find himself on the receiving end of racist name calling and abuse by new Bistro manager Don, played by Philip Broadbent, who'll over his and Michael's refurbishment work on the restaurant. As the abuse escalates, Ed continually shrugs it off, but Michael and James are shocked at their dad’s attitude and baffled as to why he is letting Don get away with it.

It soon becomes clear there is a generational difference of opinion about dealing with what Don sees as jokey banter, but are clearly racist comments. Things come to a head at the opening party of the new Bistro as Ed finally eventually decides to face up to Don when his comments are directed at the rest of the family. The storyline will also explore how Don’s attitude makes Ed think long and hard about his own prejudices against his son James’ homosexuality.

Talking about this new storyline, Corrie's producer Iain MacLeod told I Talk Telly and other press during a virtual press conference "We chatted a lot about it with the actors and they were all saying that although the instances of overt racism that they experience is less perhaps than the seventies and eighties, there's still a high degree of what you might call subliminal or covert racism that they're experiencing."

"We thought it would be interesting to explore the subtleties and nuances of that and of the Bailey's differing reactions to the racism they're experiencing."

"There's a generational gap between James and Michael's view of it and Aggie and Ed's view of it. The younger contingent think they should deal with it head on, zero tolerance. Whereas Ed and Aggie have a slightly more 'keep your head held high and ignore it because you'll never change these idiot's minds' kind of view."

Coronation Street researchers, writers and storyliners consulted with Baroness Lawrence about plans for the episode, who was delighted to act as a script advisor and also visited the set with her consultant on the project, Adrian Sykes, to observe key scenes from the episodes.

On other ways they ensured they got the storyline right, Iain explained "The scripts themselves were generated in large part through workshopping with the actors. I was acutely aware that as a middle-aged white man, I don't have any direct experiences of racism so it made sense to get the actors' perceptions of what the script should be and how it should be - and get the detail right. We actually went about writing it in a completely different way to how we normally would have done it."

"We consulted very heavily with Baroness Lawrence on it and made sure she was happy with it, because it had initially been planned to go out on Stephen Lawrence Day which it now won't, we went about it a different way, but the result is very powerful and I hope very truthful. Certainly, the actors are very pleased with the result. There's some really spine-tingling performances from the Bailey family and confirms what we already know, which is that they're a fantastic bunch of actors."

Coronation Street continues Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm on ITV

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