3 Mar 2023, 11:10
Amy Barlow, Coronation Street, Elle Mulvaney
Coronation Street begins a non-consensual sex storyline this evening when Amy Barlow and Aaron Sandford share a drunken evening together.
The flatmates plan a night out to celebrate Aaron’s promotion at the garage, but their evening goes wrong from the start.
Aaron’s had a fight with Summer, and Amy’s fallen out with her too!
And when the friends are alone in the flat before they head out, they share a snog.
Amy’s mortified at having kissed her best mate’s fella, and the atmosphere at the Bistro’s cocktail night is prickly from the off.
Soon she’s heading home alone, and after another slanging match with Summer, Aaron follows.
Elle says Amy is upset when she realises what has happened (Credit: ITV)
Amy and Aaron get drunk in Coronation Street
The mates get drunk together, drowning their sorrows.
But then things take a dark turn when Amy goes into her bedroom on the hunt for some more booze left over from Christmas.
Aaron goes too, and they kiss once more.
But when Amy pushes him away, saying she’s not feeling too good, Aaron doesn’t listen. He carries on as drunk Amy is oblivious to what he’s doing.
Amy and Aaron share a kiss before their night out (Credit: ITV)
Memories resurface for Amy in Coronation Street
It’s a horrible story and Elle Mulvaney, who plays Amy in Coronation Street, says her alter ego is upset when she realises what’s happened.
“When she wakes up everything is a fog,” she explains. “It’s really difficult for her to think clearly. She remembers bits, and then she spots her underwear on the floor…”
Amy’s memory begins to return as she gets on with her day and the usually sassy student starts to realise what has happened.
Then Aaron tells her they slept together – and she’s devastated.
Amy and Aaron get drunk together (Credit: ITV)
“She’s shocked initially,” Elle says. “But then it starts to make sense. All of the things that she’s feeling. Suddenly she starts to remember and she feels she’s been taken advantage of. She’s upset. This is her friend.”
But there’s another shock in store for confused Amy. She tells Aaron that she was out of it and didn’t consent to sleep with him.
“She obviously thinks he must think he hasn’t done anything wrong because of how he phrased it.
“He’s being very nonchalant, he very clearly doesn’t think anything’s wrong. He’s asking her not to tell Summer and he’s making out it was just some drunken mistake. They just slept together and now she regrets it.”
Amy feels she’s been betrayed (Credit: ITV)
Making it make sense
Elle says Amy is shocked by how Aaron responds.
“I think that the shock comes from her feelings of betrayal because Aaron was her friend. For him to not have any recognition of her feelings, that’s what shocks her the most.”
At first, Amy is reluctant to tell anyone what’s gone on.
“She can’t even begin to think how to tell other people. She thinks that she’s strong and thinks she can handle it all by herself. Even saying the word ‘rape’ is so difficult and takes so much effort, and in that initial stage she doesn’t have the energy.”
And she adds that it’s Aaron’s reaction that makes her resist telling anyone.
“She is wondering how she can even begin to tell anyone this when Aaron doesn’t even believe her and he’s done it,” says Elle.
Amy’s behaviour does eventually make her family realise that something’s wrong and Elle says she does want to open up to the Barlows – but she doesn’t want to upset them.
“Deep down she really wants to tell her mum because she wants her to hug her and tell her everything’s okay,” Elle says. “But she doesn’t want it to be this big issue. She just wishes it never happened.”
Elle hopes to raise awareness with the storyline (Credit: ITV)
Elle and James Craven, who plays Aaron, have worked with the Schools Consent Project to make sure they get everything in this storyline right.
Elle says it’s stories like this that show how important the soaps are.
“This to me is why we do this job,” she says proudly. “Soaps, even after 60 years, are still relevant. I know so many people who have gone through something like this, it’s not uncommon. I hope we can open up conversations.”
And she added: “We want to raise awareness of the topic, and if this story then stops this happening to one person then it’s done its job.”
As with all harrowing storylines, Elle and James have been supported on set by the cast and crew.
“It has been challenging but we have been very well supported,” Elle shares.
“Just working with James has been brilliant. , But filming crying scenes all day, or talking about rape all day, does take its toll.
“I know we always say it, but Corrie is like this big family. I ended up sat talking to Sue Devaney (who plays Debbie Webster) for about an hour one day, and she made me feel so much better. Having that support is really comforting.”
Amy struggles to come to terms with what’s happened (Credit: ITV)
What’s next for Amy in Coronation Street?
So what now for Amy after this experience?
“We’re going to be seeing how this is going to affect things, how Amy is going to interact with people differently. It’s going to change her as a person,” says Elle.
How will Amy change?
“Amy’s always been very headstrong, very bolshy. But someone’s taken something from her now. She can rebuild herself into a different person but this will always be with her.
And how about in the friendship group? Will things change there?
“The dynamic will change, because people will almost have to pick sides,” says Elle thoughtfully. “Amy isn’t going to want to be in the same room as Aaron. He’s a threat to her now.”
Read more: Who is in the cast of Coronation Street in 2023?
Coronation Street usually airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8pm on ITV.
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