Coronation Street racism storyline was actress’ idea


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ITV

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Alya Nazir, played by Sair Khan, was subjected to a torrent of racist abuse during Wednesday’s episode

A Coronation Street actress whose character was subjected to racist abuse during an episode has said she “wanted to raise” the issue in the soap.

Sair Khan’s character Alya Nazir was told “her lot” were boring during Wednesday night’s episode.

Ms Khan told the BBC she had taken the idea to the ITV show’s producers before the programme was aired.

Some viewers found the racist comments offensive, while others praised the soap for highlighting the issue.

Explaining her motivation for the storyline, Ms Khan said: “This was an issue that I definitely wanted to raise and wanted addressed, because I get a lot of people coming up to me, young Asian girls, Asian guys, that are so happy to see me on the television a representation of them.

“I’m so happy to be that voice for them in all the positive elements that come with that, but there is negativity and I thought that was definitely worth exploring.”

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ITV

Image caption

Aidan Connor, played by Shayne Ward, leapt to his business partner Alya Nazir’s defence

During Wednesday’s episode, potential business clients Justin and Dale Parker told Alya: “If you come here you should behave the way we do.”

“Oh I forgot your lot don’t have a sense of humour,” Dale Parker said, before adding: “Lighten up will you. Oh I’m sorry you can’t you’re stuck that colour.”

Alya sought to ignore the abuse and told her business partner Aidan Conor: “It’s not the first time I’ve met blokes like them and I doubt it’ll be the last.”

After the show was aired, Ms Khan thanked fans for their support.

Many fans praised the soap for highlighting the issue.

However, there were some who criticised the soap for their pre-watershed broadcast.

A Coronation Street spokeswoman said the storyline reflected the “completely abhorrent” racism which “sadly still occurs in society”.

“There was a clear warning of ‘scenes of racial abuse with offensive language’ before the episode aired,” she added.



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