Coronation Street has responded to viewer criticism about dark and violent scenes in Friday night's double bill of the soap.

During the episodes, viewers saw Pat Phelan (Connor McIntyre) turn from archetypal soap villain into a crazed killer as the captive Andy Carver (Oliver Farnworth) story-line reached its dramatic culmination.

Phelan had kept Andy prisoner in his cellar for eight months, assuring him him that he would be set free if he found a replacement hostage, Phelan ordered Andy to kill Vinny Ashford and then killed Andy as well.

Digital Spy reported that TV presenter Fern Britton was among the viewers who criticised ITV for being "too grim" on Corrie.

Responding to the criticism, a spokesperson for ITV said that loyal Coronation Street viewers would not have been shocked by Phelan's villainy and said the soap was careful to "limit the violence" shown on screen.

"Coronation Street has always been recognised for its mix of drama and comedy, as well as hard-hitting story-lines," the statement said.

"Phelan has already been established as a villain in a long line of murderous Coronation Street villains and so his actions, evil though they are, won't have come as a surprise to viewers.

"In addition the programme is always careful to limit the level of violence actually shown to a minimum to convey the drama and tell the story. And, of course, one day, Phelan will get his comeuppance and justice will be done."

Actor Connor McIntyre has assured viewers that his character's downfall is imminent, describing Andy's murder as "the pebble that starts the avalanche".

"Pat Phelan is now a very dangerous person," he said. "Now he's crossed the Rubicon, whereas before he would go to great lengths, for example the cellar, complicating things. The journey towards his comeuppance will be very lively I'm sure, because now he has a direct route to solving problems."