Coronation Street has been highly praised for its sensitive portrayal of male suicide, which saw troubled factory worker Aidan Connor (played by Shayne Ward) take his own life off screen Monday's double-bill episode. The show's emotional double bill episode explored the build-up to Aidan's suicide, seeing him pay a visit to his ex-fiancée Eva Price to tell her that he knew the truth about baby Susie, as well as asking her to dance with him, as they had never had the chance to do so at their wedding. While Eva was convinced that Aidan was attempting to get back with her, heartbreakingly he was actually saying goodbye to his former flame.
Aidan was then shown feeling isolated during a family party at the Rovers before breaking down in tears at his flat while sitting alone in the darkness. His suicide was not shown on screen, something which made the impact even more powerful. "My heart is breaking for Aidan Such an important storyline and message to get across," one viewer wrote on Twitter, while another said: "How heartbreaking was Aidan leaving in Corrie. So wanted a happy ending for him Eva and baby but just shows not everyone gets that keep talking and speaking out and break this stigma!" A third added: "#corrie Saddest episode ever... #ShayneWard You were utterly heart breaking Sir. #MentalHealthMatters."
Aidan Connor went to see ex-fiancée Eva Price before taking his own life
Shayne's cast mates were also quick to praise his emotional acting, with Samia Longchambon - who plays Maria Connor in the ITV soap - writing: "Such a subtle and beautiful performance from @shayneTward tonight. @itvcorrie showing how heartbreaking this issue really is. If you or anyone you know is affected please talk to somebody.. @theCALMzone @samaritans are there to help!" Lucy Fallon - who plays Bethany Platt - said: "Heartbreaking @itvcorrie…beautiful performances from our @shayneTward and @Cath_Tyldesley."
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The troubled factory worker appeared distant as he attended a family party
Eva Price actress Catherine Tyldesley, meanwhile, took to Instagram to share a throwback photo of her and Shayne in character. "Aidan & Eva ... heartbreaking , phenomenal performance from @shaynetward tonight. Darling it’s been an absolute pleasure to work with you," she said. "Here’s hoping that the work that yourself and our wonderful #corrie team have put into this weeks episodes get people talking and help save lives. #itsoktotalk#mentalhealthawareness help is there - and hope is ALWAYS in your heart - no matter how cloudy ...@samaritanscharity@calmzone (photo credit Rosie Hardy copyright @vitalpublicity)," she said.
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Aidan's final scenes had many viewers in tears
Monday saw Shayne Ward's final appearance on screen, with Wednesday's episode set to show the aftermath of Aidan's death after dad Johnny discovers his lifeless body in his flat. It was announced last week that Coronation Street were going to tackle male suicide in upcoming scenes, in the hope that it would raise awareness and help save lives. Corrie producer Kate Oates said: "Suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 in this country. With 84 men taking their lives each week, we quite simply can't afford to not talk about it. Aidan's story, bravely and brilliantly tackled by Shayne Ward, is designed to give people who hide their feelings of desperation a chance to start a conversation, letting someone know what they're going through.
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"Through this story, we want to assure anyone who feels suicidal that there is always someone who wants to listen and support you: whether a friend, family member, or one of the brilliant charities we have been working with throughout this story. We want to tell people that however bleak they are feeling, there is always another way."