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Coronation Street: Baroness Lawrence advises soap on racism storyline

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Coronation Street producers have revealed they asked for help from the mother of the late Stephen Lawrence on an upcoming storyline about racism.

The London teenager was murdered by a gang in a racially motivated attack in 1993 when he was 18.

Now, Baroness Doreen Lawrence has been consulted by the ITV soap’s writers about their plan to explore the prejudice faced by the Bailey family.

It will show the generational divide in the family on attitudes towards racism.

Ed Bailey (Trevor Michael Georges) will be seen to shrug off a racist incident, which shocks his sons Michael (Ryan Russell) and James (Nathan Graham).

“The younger contingent think you should deal with it head on, and zero tolerance, where Ed and [his wife] Aggie have a slightly more ‘keep your head held high and ignore it because you will never change these idiots’ minds, lads’ view,” said Coronation Street boss Ian MacLeod.

“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.”

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The Baileys outside the Rovers Return in Weatherfield

MacLeod added they thought it would be interesting “to explore the subtlety and nuances” of racism.

The episode, which will air on 18 May, will also show how the prejudice makes Ed re-evaluate his attitudes towards James being gay.

‘Weight and authenticity’

It was originally meant to be broadcast on Stephen Lawrence Day last month, but changes had to be made to the schedule due to the coronavirus.

This meant they had time to consult “quite heavily with Baroness Lawrence and made sure she was happy with it”.

“It is a huge privilege to have someone of the standing of Baroness Lawrence consult with us on this episode,” MacLeod noted.

“I really believe that her input, and the contributions of the cast playing the Bailey family as we work-shopped the scripts, have resulted in an episode with real weight and authenticity.”

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