Coronation Street stars Sue Cleaver and Tony Hirst have said that the soap's dementia storyline is receiving a positive response from viewers.

In recent weeks, fans have witnessed Cleaver’s character Eileen Grimshaw strike up a friendship with firefighter Paul Kershaw (Hirst), whose wife Lesley suffers from early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

Speaking on the Lorraine show about his character Paul, Hirst said: "It's a massive responsibility. Right from the beginning, the creative team were really careful that they knew it would be a sensational storyline, but they wanted to do it justice.

"They've been in constant contact with the Alzheimer's Society, and our scripts are checked and verified by them - in terms of credibility and being realistic and true to the issue."

He added: "With viewers who come up and see you, the ones who make a judgement are the ones who have absolutely no experience or understanding of dementia. The fans who have some experience of people living with dementia are absolutely positive, and they want Eileen and Paul to find some kind of happiness.

"People are writing to us on a daily basis. Interestingly, the Alzheimer's Society wanted to know where the hope would come in our story. It's really difficult because it is bleak and it is brutal, but I think the hope lies in [the fact that] people do find mechanisms to cope. However dysfunctional people think Eileen and Paul are with Lesley, actually they are functioning."

Cleaver further commented on the storyline saying: "It's been lovely, actually - the response. It's quite controversial, the story, but people affected with Alzheimer's in their life really get it and really understand it. There was concern as to how people would respond to this."

"There's lots of twists and turns coming up, and what we're filming at the moment is all very exciting. We can't speak too much about that. We'll have to see what happens."