Coronation Street's Max Turner set for grooming by extremists storyline
Coronation Street character Max Turner is set for a hard-hitting new storyline involving grooming of disenfranchised young men by extremists.
The troubled teen, played by Paddy Bever, will be targeted by a gang of extremists who drag him into their racist actions and prey on his vulnerabilities.
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Viewers of the ITV soap will see the storyline begin in Friday's episode, when Peter Barlow (Chris Gascoyne) confronts eco activist Griff (Michael Condron) and his mates as the band they have invited him to see is playing racist songs.
Toyah Battersby (Georgia Taylor) tackles Spider Nugent (Martin Hancock) about his friends, unaware that he is an undercover cop who has infiltrated the gang to expose their activity.
But the tensions escalate further on Monday when Griff starts to target troubled Max who has been the victim of persistent school bullies since losing his place at Weatherfield High.
Griff threatens to teach the bullies a lesson, winning Max’s trust, and invites him to his Halloween party, telling the rest of the gang that he has plans for how they can make use of Max.
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In the coming months, Corrie viewers will see Max become more estranged from his family as he falls under the spell of Griff, who uses Max’s video and computer skills to spread the gang's racist propaganda.
Producer Iain MacLeod said: "Overall, Max's story is one about the grooming of a vulnerable teenager at a point where he's feeling most alienated and disenfranchised. The story will encompass the 'traditional' recruitment techniques of extremist groups, and we'll see Max befriended in person by older, mentor-like figures that will give him a sense of loyalty and brotherhood.
“Then, later in the story, we will explore a very 21st century problem: teenagers self-radicalising through watching extreme content online.
"In the end, we wanted this to be a story about communication within families - what are the right and wrong ways to talk to younger family members who are gravitating towards extreme views? For the conclusion of the story, David's misjudged attempts to deal with Max will drive the narrative to a shocking and thought-provoking climax."
Counter terrorism policing’s senior national coordinator Tim Jacques added: “Coronation Street has a long history of raising awareness of challenging issues that sit at the heart of communities across the UK. Sadly, the terrorist threat remains one of those very real concerns.
“Our casework shows that children and young people are vulnerable to radicalisation and are increasingly being drawn into toxic ideologies through online spaces and platforms.
“We hope Max’s story will help to highlight why it’s so important to get support or advice if you’re worried someone you love is taking a dangerous path. It really doesn’t have to be that way.”
The soap pointed viewers concerned about anyone they know who might be being radicalised towards support at actearly.uk and urged anyone concerned about potential terrorism to report it at gov.uk/ACT or on 0800 789 321.
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