Views: fiction can educate and entertain

Obviously, it is pure chance when soap opera storylines mirror real life news reports at the same time. But the David Platt male rape story, handled powerfully and very sensitively by the producers of Coronation Street, was given real life context after the lifting of press reporting restrictions on the conviction of Reynhard Sinaga, who is believed to have lured and filmed nearly 200 victims to his Manchester flat were he raped them.

The horrific details of the UK’s most prolific make uncomfortable reading, especially when they were so close to home. I lived in Manchester for three decades. But we can understand the story better because of the bravery of the Coronation Street’s writers, actors and producers.

Corrie is also running gripping simultaneous storylines about serious potentially fatal head injuries and false accusations of child abuse showing soap operas, and fiction in general, have a duty to educate as well as entertain, which includes ensuring they do their research properly.