Coronation Street has received widespread praise for how sensitively it has handled the tragic death of character Aidan Connor, and for raising awareness of mental health difficulties and the need for people to talk to each other.
Wednesday night's heartbreaking double episode saw Aidan's family and the residents of Weatherfield discovering that Aidan (played by Shayne Ward) had taken his own life.
After an outpouring of praise for Ward's nuanced work as the much-loved character, Wednesday's episode was powered by superb performances from all his co-stars including Richard Hawley, who plays Aidan's father Johnny; Catherine Tyldesley as Aidan's former partner Eva; Helen Worth, who plays Gail; and Jack P Shepherd as David.
Gail's soliloquy was one of the most affecting solo scenes in the history of the ITV soap.
"I like to think we look out for each other round here, and without being nosy know what's going on in each other's lives... "— Coronation Street (@itvcorrie) May 9, 2018
"But you don't, do you." ??
You are not alone. If you need someone to talk to, support and information is available at: https://t.co/W35MEI9xnr #Corrie pic.twitter.com/vTSNp2UanS
During and after the episode, fans took to social media to express their support:
This episode of @itvcorrie is utterly incredible - unlike any episode of a soap I’ve ever seen before.— Anthony Dearie (@AnthonyDearie) May 9, 2018
So full of raw emotion & portraying so many different, real, reactions.
High praise to all involved - #Corrie deserves every award going for this. #CoronationStreet #Aidan
You never know what's going in another persons head. Look after your family and friends and never bottle it up . Talking is everything #corrie— Wayne Power (@PowerWayne) May 9, 2018
Coronation Street opened my eyes a little, it takes a lot for people to talk about their problems and it’s important everyone seeks help when they need it #Corrie— JayTay (@jaytay948) May 9, 2018
Corrie was outstandingly written tonight. The portrayal throughout and use of emotion. Then there's Gail's speech which was heartbreaking ,even the small conversations between people were really powerful. Bravo. I hope it encourages people to speak up #Corrie— Lauren ?? (@LozzaLou_XX) May 9, 2018
#Corrie has broken me tonight! There's no perfect way to act such a poignant subject, but the delicacy and emotion shown has made it imperfectly perfect. If we can learn anything from it, just talk, there's always someone who will listen x.— Rachael Jones (@RachyxJones) May 9, 2018
#Corrie such a moving and emotional episode! #MentalHealthAwareness especially in men, if this encourages just one person to talk it did its job. Fantastic acting from all involved especially the Connor family. @shayneTward you did yourself proud!— Claire (@izzy0922) May 9, 2018
I'm seriously not surprised it's trending worldwide, it deserves to be. That episode of #corrie will always stay with me. Helen Worths speech will always be in my mind, just so amazing.— Dave (@DavidMackayy) May 9, 2018
What moving esposide of #Corrie— sonia (@Justbgreat2) May 9, 2018
The writers of Coronation Street have handled Aiden's very sensitive story so well. We were all in bits. Makes one think.— Kate (@RainbowKate) May 9, 2018
To anyone suffering, I hope you find someone to talk to.#Corrie #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth
I’ve text everyone in my family to tell them I love them. It was the most powerful episode of #Corrie I’ve seen in my 30 odd years of watching. ??????— JRSB (@JRSBCoolBits) May 9, 2018
#Corrie Gail's speech really hit home hard. Please, for the love of anything, TALK to somebody if something's wrong. No matter how big or small. #MentalHealth is one of the most important things you'll ever have. Remember, nobody needs to suffer in silence.— Cal O'Coileáin ???? (@CCoileain) May 9, 2018
The episode ended with a positive message as rape survivor David realised he did not have to face his trauma alone and shared his story with Shona (Julia Goulding).
The stars of Coronation Street were also on social media connecting with fans and expressing their gratitude for the support they have received:
Tonight’s @itvcorrie Episode is Powerful and full of raw emotion.— Shayne Ward (@shayneTward) May 9, 2018
Some Incredible performances from all The cast.!
Keep Talking Everybody.
I’m so proud of all your bravery in doing so.
TALK-YOUR VOICE WILL BE HEARD.@theCALMzone @samaritans
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Completely in awe of my @itvcorrie family. So proud to be part of this show.— Lucy Fallon (@lufallon) May 9, 2018
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this story you can contact Pieta House 24/7 Helpline 1800 247 247 or the Samaritans Helpline 116 123.