Published On: Mon, May 10th, 2021

Coronation Street’s Mollie Gallagher reveals she is ‘so proud’ to be part of hate crime storyline

Mollie Gallagher has revealed she feels ‘proud’ of the role she’s played in ‘Coronation Street‘s hate crime storyline.

The actress, 22, plays Nina Lucas in the ITV soap and after her character was attacked because of her goth appearance, Mollie says it’s important to bring issues like hate crimes to the public’s attention.

Appearing on Monday’s episode of Loose Women, she said: ‘It’ something that I do find quite hard. I absolutely love playing these characters and I absolutely love playing Nina and I do get really attached to her. 

Important: Mollie Gallagher has revealed she feels ‘proud’ of the role she’s played in ‘Coronation Street’s hate crime storyline

‘And because the stoyline is very important and I’m really attached to her … I’ve put so much effort into it and hopefully that shows.’

The heartbreaking storyline is loosely based on the real-life death of Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered in 2007.

Mollie actually spoke to Sophie’s mum Dr Sylvia Lancaster about the issue before she took on the storyline.

She said: ‘I’ve had Zooms with Sylvia who is absolutely amazing and completely inspiring.

Plot: The actress, 22, plays Nina Lucas in the ITV soap and after her character was attacked because of her appearance, Mollie says it's important to bring issues like hate crimes to the public's attention

Plot: The actress, 22, plays Nina Lucas in the ITV soap and after her character was attacked because of her appearance, Mollie says it’s important to bring issues like hate crimes to the public’s attention

‘She did a presentation with us and any advice that we needed she was there. A lot of the research we got was from Sylvia, as well as finding stuff online … learning about hate crime in general, so yeah, I’m really grateful.’

Mollie has become more aware of hate crimes and their impact since speaking to Sylvia.

And she feels proud that ‘Coronation Street’ bosses decided to explore such a difficult issue.

She explained: ‘Speaking to Sylvia, you realise how shocking it is and how much it does happen, and how it shouldn’t be happening. 

Mollie said on Loose Women: 'I absolutely love playing these characters and I absolutely love playing Nina and I do get really attached to her'

Mollie said on Loose Women: ‘I absolutely love playing these characters and I absolutely love playing Nina and I do get really attached to her’

Mollie added: 'Being part of a storyline on 'Corrie', I'm so proud to be part of it, you know, helping to create awareness'

Mollie added: ‘Being part of a storyline on ‘Corrie’, I’m so proud to be part of it, you know, helping to create awareness’

‘Being part of a storyline on ‘Corrie’, I’m so proud to be part of it, you know, helping to create awareness.’

Mollie’s boyfriend Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) was also a victim of the attack with soap fans left heartbroken when he died from his injuries on Friday night’s episode.   

The pair were targeted by a gang of thugs who shouted abuse about Nina’s goth identity.

The storyline has many similarities to what happened to Sophie Lancaster, who was murdered in a Lancashire park in 2007, and the soap has worked with a foundation set up by the late 20-year-old’s mother Sylvia.

Soap debut: Soap watchers were left heartbroken after  Nina's boyfriend Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) died on Friday night's episode following the hate crime attack

Soap debut: Soap watchers were left heartbroken after  Nina’s boyfriend Seb Franklin (Harry Visinoni) died on Friday night’s episode following the hate crime attack

Nina woke up from her coma after the shock incident but Seb’s brain function was severely damaged.

In the emotional episode, Seb’s mum Abi was left heartbroken and in tears as she sat by his bedside after being told his brain was no longer functioning.

The doctor told her: ‘Sebastian failed the brain stem tests.

‘His brain is no longer sending messages to his body. We were increasing the amount of organ support for Seb but I’m afraid it wasn’t working and his body has shut down.

‘There was nothing more we could do and his heart has stopped. I’m so very sorry, he has died.’

Murdered for dressing differently: The storyline is based on Sophie Lancaster, who was just 20-years-old when she was murdered by a group of teenage boys in a park in Lancashire on 11 August 2007

Murdered for dressing differently: The storyline is based on Sophie Lancaster, who was just 20-years-old when she was murdered by a group of teenage boys in a park in Lancashire on 11 August 2007

Also on Friday’s programme Abi was questioned by police officers who asked if Seb and Nina had ever taken drugs.

Elsewhere, as Nina woke up she appeared to mumble that she had seen prime suspect Corey Brent (Maximus Evans) just before the attack.

Taking to Twitter after the episode to say goodbye to the show actor Harry wrote: ‘Goodbye Coronation Street. It’s been a wild 5 years on the cobbles, and I’ve loved every second. I’ve made memories that I will cherish forever and have worked with the most amazing people.

‘I couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to spend these years of my life. Thank you so much for all the support Seb has received throughout his turbulent time on the street, and thank you so much for the amazing response to this immensely important and relevant storyline.

Horrific: The pair were targeted by a gang of thugs who shouted abuse about Nina's goth identity

Horrific: The pair were targeted by a gang of thugs who shouted abuse about Nina’s goth identity

‘There couldn’t have been a more worthy end for Seb. It was an honour to be trusted to tell this harrowing story and I hope that we have been able to make a difference and raise awareness.’

He signed off by saying: ‘It’s been an honour and a privilege. Lots of love, Harry x’

Opening up about his final scenes recently, Harry said that he had found them ‘very emotional’ and even ‘welled’ up when the director called it a wrap.

He told The Mirror: ‘At the end it was like, ‘It’s a wrap for Harry!’ kind of thing and got a clap and all that. I was welling up! Which is a rare thing for me, really.’

Harry has recently told how he was happy for his character to be killed off as he hadn’t meant to stay in the soap ‘forever’.

Attack: Nina (pictured) woke up from her coma after the shock incident but Seb's brain function was severely damaged

Attack: Nina (pictured) woke up from her coma after the shock incident but Seb’s brain function was severely damaged

He said: ‘I had a meeting with Iain MacLeod, the producer of the show, just to discuss potential avenues for Seb going forward and this storyline got mentioned as an option and I thought, well, it’s an end for the character and it’s a storyline I’d love to be a part of and it’s the perfect way for me to wave goodbye to Seb.

‘The thing is, I never intended to stay in the show forever and while I was there it was always a goal of mine to play a major part in a story that’s as big as this for the show. So yeah, when it came through the door it wasn’t something that I could pass up, really.’

On Wednesday, Mollie discussed the hard-hitting storyline ahead of the episode, admitting she ‘wanted to cry’ after seeing her character’s injuries in make-up.

The actress added that she hopes to do the important scenes ‘justice’ and that it ‘breaks her heart’ knowing this has happened and does happen in real life.

Devastated: Seb's mother Abi (Sally Carman) fell to the floor after she was told by the doctors that he had sadly passed away

Devastated: Seb’s mother Abi (Sally Carman) fell to the floor after she was told by the doctors that he had sadly passed away 

Speaking to The Sun, Mollie said: ‘I remember the first time I had the make-up done, I hadn’t filmed any scenes yet and I’d just been rehearsing it in my mirror at home by myself. As soon as the makeup was done, I just wanted to cry.

‘I remember looking at my reflection and thinking: ‘Wow’. I already knew it was awful but when you’re actually in it, I thought I could cry.

‘It was a really strange feeling. I kept thinking about all the scenes and what was coming up. It did help in a way as I was able to hold that feeling when we filmed the scenes. It was a massive help.’

Mollie added to the Mirror: ‘Because this stuff has happened it’s such an important story to tell. I felt a lot of emotions. I am really privileged to be given such an important storyline but I am also nervous because I want to do the story justice.

End of an era: Taking to Twitter after the episode to say goodbye to the show Harry wrote: 'Goodbye Coronation Street. It's been a wild 5 years on the cobbles'

End of an era: Taking to Twitter after the episode to say goodbye to the show Harry wrote: ‘Goodbye Coronation Street. It’s been a wild 5 years on the cobbles’

‘I have really put my all into it and hopefully it shows. You see the human effect this has on someone who you would say is strong. Knowing this has happened and does happen breaks my heart.’ 

Sophie’s mother Sylvia told the publication it was ‘lovely’ to speak to Mollie and that people are ‘looking behind’ her character Nina’s clothes and image.

She added: ‘It so important to get the message out there, intolerance and prejudice, we have to get it out of society. Alternative people like other minorities deserve to walk down the street without being abused physically or emotionally.’

Sylvia also appeared on Wednesday’s This Morning where she praised Coronation Street for handling the storyline ‘sensitively’.

Hard: The pair were attacked by a gang of thugs who shouted abuse about Nina's goth identity (pictured: Abi reacts to the news of his death)

Hard: The pair were attacked by a gang of thugs who shouted abuse about Nina’s goth identity (pictured: Abi reacts to the news of his death)

She said: ‘You can tell, they sort of live and breathe the work they’re doing, and you know they’re going to do things with sensitivity and the best they can, and you can’t ask any more than that.’

Sylvia said that due to Covid her foundation has not been able to go into schools or festivals but they have still ‘kept busy’ by ‘working in a different way’.

She added: ‘Sometimes it only takes a couple of seconds stand back and think about and see what we can do and make a difference to people’s lives.’

Sophie and her boyfriend Robert Maltby, then 21, were set upon and beaten in a park simply because of the way they looked on 11 August in 2007.

Sophie’s injuries were so severe, she died in hospital 13 days later, aged 20. Ryan Herbert and Brendan Harris, then both 15, were sentenced to life in prison.

Important: The plot saw Nina and her boyfriend Seb (pictured together) get attacked by a gang

Important: The plot saw Nina and her boyfriend Seb (pictured together) get attacked by a gang

Sylvia set up the Sophie Lancaster Foundation in her daughter’s memory to focus on creating respect and understanding of subcultures in communities.

When the storyline was first discussed producers and the research team approached Sylvia who was delighted to be able to work with them to help highlight the issue.

Sophie’s mother Sylvia said that the soap covering a story about the abuse alternative people face ‘means such a huge amount’ to her.

She said: ‘I know first-hand the abuse, harassment and violence that alternative people suffer.

‘Hate crime is usually directed at already stigmatised and minority groups and Sophie was assaulted three times before that final, sustained and brutal attack that took her life – but she never reported the earlier assaults.

Awful: On Wednesday, Mollie discussed the hard-hitting storyline, admitting she 'wanted to cry' after seeing her character's injuries (pictured in soap still)

Awful: On Wednesday, Mollie discussed the hard-hitting storyline, admitting she ‘wanted to cry’ after seeing her character’s injuries (pictured in soap still)

‘Coronation Street covering this issue means such a huge amount to me. We want alternative people to know that they shouldn’t be putting up with this prejudice and intolerance, and they should report it.

‘We want the wider community to really appreciate the horror of this violence and understand that difference in itself, is not frightening, it just makes us all who we are.

‘We will also use this platform to continue raising awareness of Sophie’s case with the police and judiciary to make sure that hate crime against alternative people is recognised and treated with the degree of severity that it deserves.’

Hard-hitting: The actress added that she hopes to do the important scenes 'justice' and that it 'breaks her heart' knowing this has happened and does happen in real life

Hard-hitting: The actress added that she hopes to do the important scenes ‘justice’ and that it ‘breaks her heart’ knowing this has happened and does happen in real life

On the importance of tackling this storyline Coronation Street, producer Iain MacLeod said: ‘The issue of intolerance and hatred towards people from different cultures and subcultures is arguably more relevant now than it’s ever been.

‘This incredibly hard-hitting storyline, which centres on a senseless act of violence, will draw in characters from all corners of our narrative universe and will, we hope, leave the audience with a clear message: everyone, regardless of how they look, how they dress or any aspect of how they live their life, should be treated with tolerance and respect.

‘The story will run across the rest of the year and beyond, with many twists and turns, and will be heartbreaking and dramatic in equal measure. In the end, the story will see an optimistic outcome emerge from the traumatic attack.’

On hand: Mollie said that she worked closely with the late Sophie Lancaster's mother Dr Sylvia Lancaster OBE to make sure she was as 'accurate' as possible during the storyline (Sylvia pictured on Quest Red series Britain's Deadliest Kids)

On hand: Mollie said that she worked closely with the late Sophie Lancaster’s mother Dr Sylvia Lancaster OBE to make sure she was as ‘accurate’ as possible during the storyline (Sylvia pictured on Quest Red series Britain’s Deadliest Kids)

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