Coronation Street joins forces with Baroness Lawrence to tell story about racism

A general view of the Rovers Return Inn on the set of Coronation Street in Manchester, as the Duchess of Cornwall visited the
A general view of the Rovers Return Inn on the set of Coronation Street in Manchester, as the Duchess of Cornwall visited the set today.

Coronation Street has joined forces with the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence to work on a storyline about racism.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence was consulted by the soap’s writers about the plans, which will explore prejudice faced by the Bailey family.

The soap will tell the story of the generational divide about attitudes towards racism in the family and will show how Ed Bailey shrugs off a racist incident, which shocks his sons Michael and James.

British Soap Awards 2019
Trevor Michael Georges plays Ed Bailey in Coronation Street (Lindsey Parnaby/PA)

The storyline will also explore how the prejudice makes Ed reevaluate his attitudes towards James being gay.

Coronation Street producer Ian MacLeod said that it felt like a “really interesting story” to explore the “generational gap” in the family’s attitude towards racism.

He added: “The younger contingent think you should deal with it head on, and zero tolerance, where Ed and Aggie have a slightly more ‘keep your head held high and ignore it because you will never change these idiots’ minds, lads’ view.

“It’s about them exploring those generational differences between their approaches to racism, and then ultimately reconciling with each other’s points of view a little bit.”

Christmas on Coronation Street – Manchester
(Peter Byrne/PA)

MacLeod said that the makers of the programme discussed the plot with the actors, adding that “they were all saying that although the incidents of overt racism that they experienced are perhaps less than say in the 70s and 80s, there is still a high degree of what you might call subliminal racism, or more covert racism that they are still experiencing.

“So we thought it would be interesting to explore the subtlety and nuances of that, and the subtlety and nuances of the Baileys’ differing reactions to this kind of racism they are experiencing,” he added.

The story was originally meant to be broadcast on Stephen Lawrence Day last month, however this was delayed because of changes made to the TV schedules because of coronavirus.

Baroness Lawrence
Baroness Doreen Lawrence (Anthony Devlin/PA)

MacLeod said this meant they “consulted quite heavily with Baroness Lawrence and made sure she was happy with it”.

Her son was stabbed to death by a gang of racists in Eltham, south-east London, in 1993.

The storyline will begin on May 18 on ITV.

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