On Monday night, former singer Shayne Ward delivered one of the soap performances of the year - as his character Aidan Connor made his exit out of Coronation Street.
After starring in the popular ITV show for three years, Shayne’s character met a devastating end. Viewers tuned in to see a heartbroken Aidan take his own life in his home, in harrowing, and heartbreaking scenes, after struggling with depression.
And since the emotional episode aired, the actor has been flooded with messages from viewers, sharing their own experiences with suicide.
Many also praised the soap for highlighting such a serious issue with the harrowing storyline.
In a touching message, one viewer said, ‘A very strong storyline. Just wish my brother had someone to talk to. If this storyline can save just one man’s life then we know that shayne and corrie have got it right. We’ll done shayne and the corrie cast x’
While another commented, ‘Heart breaking scenes tonight. A male family member of mine recently revealed he has been experiencing suicidal thoughts at just 15 years old. He is now getting help and feels so much better because he spoke out. So glad corrie are highlighting this ! 💕’
A third fan also wrote, ‘Really well written and acted. Thank you for bringing this storyline to the screen. I lost my brother 3 months ago to suicide and it’s completely devastating 😢’.
Shayne himself revealed that he’d been inundated with messages. Writing on his Twitter page, he said, ‘Over the last few days I’ve watched my twitter feed Be inundated with all of your Personal connections to Suicide.’
He continued to reassure anyone listening, who may be suffering from problems, that they are not alone.
Corrie producer Kate Oates also revealed that Shane actually changed Aidan’s last scene himself. Instead of his time on the soap ending in the pub, as it was going to originally, she shared how Shayne pushed for an emotional solo final scene, with Aidan in his home on his own.
She said, “The final scene of that episode is entirely of Shayne’s creation because we were going to end at the pub in that moment when life’s going on around him and he’s just completely disengaged.
“And Shayne said instinctively ‘that feels really wrong to me, I think I need another moment. I just feel that I need it and he needs it’. And now when I watch that episode it wouldn’t feel complete without it.”
Shayne’s girlfriend, former Call the Midwife star Sophie Austin, also praised him and the soap for addressing the issue. She stated that she was ‘so proud’ of Shayne, for his work on the topic.
Sophia wrote, ‘So here we are at the end of this long journey , one that I’m so so proud of you for taking . At first it was such a hard decision and road to face knowing how important this story was for us as a family and for so many others. You were scared as you wanted to do it justice!
‘Well you did my darling , you listened to stories/ experiences , learnt , revisited your own memories and tragic loss and worked hard to make this story the truest it could be and to hopefully help others and get people taking . I will forever be in awe of you and your amazing talent as an actor .Thankyou my love xx @shaynetward @samaritanscharity @calmzone’
Catherine Tydesley, who plays Eva, also commended Shayne’s emotional final scenes, saying it had been a “pleasure” to work with him.
If you are having difficult thoughts and feel you are struggling, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 – a free number open 24 hours a day.
You can also visit samaritans.org, to find your local organisation.