Coronation Street has come under fire for an arson storyline which saw quadruplet babies trapped inside a burning house.
Monday night’s episode of the ITV soap saw a burning rag soaked in lighter fluid pushed through the letterbox of young parents Chesney Brown (Sam Aston) and Gemma Winter (Dolly-Rose Campbell) as they struggled to look after their newborn babies, Bryn, Cleo, Carys and Aled.
Chesney returned home from the shops to find the front door on fire and managed to wake Gemma from her nap by banging on the door while neighbour Abi Franklin (Sally Carman) succesfully put out the flames with a fire extiguisher.
A fire brigade and ambulance arrived on the street and the babies were taken to hospital.
Broadcasting regulator Ofcom said the storyline - aired across two half hour episodes at 7.30pm and 8.30pm - had prompted 81 complaints.
A spokesperson for Coronation Street told Yahoo UK: “Coronation Street has never shied away from tackling difficult issues and the vigilante attack in this week’s episode highlights the dangers of individuals taking the law into their own hands rather than leaving such matters to the proper authorities.”
Chesney and Gemma’s home was targeted after Gemma’s mother Bernie Winter tried to expose Kel Hinchley as a paedophile by posing as a 14-year-old boy.
Some viewers complained the plot device demonstrated how to start a house fire.
One wrote on Twitter: “Oh no ! @itvcorrie showing someone setting fire to a house in intricate detail. This gives young people ideas, it shouldn’t be shown in this way!”
— Christopher Button (@Christo25288316) January 20, 2020
Another complained: “There is no way something like that (setting a fire), should have be shown. At least not before the watershed. I know it’s only a soap - but that is crazy production planning.”
And others were upset by the babies being shown in danger before the 9pm watershed.
One tweeted: “Coronation Street to nights episode, Fire. There isn't always a fire extinguisher that handy. If one person gets injured because of your stupid story line it's all on your Coronation Str writers. More to the point I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms. [sic]”
to nights episode, Fire.
There isn't always a fire extinguisher that handy.
If one person gets injured because of your stupid story line it's all on your Coronation Str writers.
More to the point I wish to complain in the strongest possible terms.
— David Leng (@moonsplash2) January 20, 2020
Another wrote: “Coronation Street is hitting the lowest of the low with this storyline setting fire to the house with the quads inside very poor taste a disgrace really.”
Coronation Street is hitting the lowest of the low with this storyline setting fire to the house with the quads inside very poor taste a disgrace really 😡
— David Brown (@daviebroon51) January 20, 2020
And another viewer branded the storyline: “absolutely disgusting”.
I'm sorry but setting a house on fire with 4 babies in house is absolutely disgusting. Even if it's a TV show #CoronationStreet
— John Short (@JohnnyShort2) January 20, 2020