Coronation Street is set to spotlight the "plight" faced by disabled workers during the pandemic with a new storyline.
It will centre around established character Izzy Armstrong (Cherylee Houston), an employee of Weatherfield's Underworld factory who is trying to work from home but "struggling to keep up with the workload", a statement said.
Factory bosses Carla Connor (Alison King) and Sarah Barlow (Tina O'Brien) have already been seen coming up with a plan to help Izzy work from home, but Carla grows frustrated with the "substandard work".
She tells Sarah that Izzy will have to get the boot if she refuses to come back to work.
The scenes of Izzy at home have been filmed by Houston and her partner Toby Hadoke at their Manchester home, with Hadoke playing the part of Armstrong's concerned neighbour Fergus.
Fergus intervenes when Sarah video messages Izzy, telling his partner's employer that she's struggling and her health must come first.
It comes as Houston herself has been shielding since last March. She said: “I have been unbelievably fortunate that my employers enabled me to continue shielding after the official shielding guidance ended in March.
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"I’ve been so supported by ITV, but I’m aware that many of my disabled peers who were previously shielding haven’t had that safety and have been forced to make the decision to earn money to survive whilst facing the real fear of death or serious illness through Covid.
“There’s 14.1 million people in the UK, that’s one in five of us. We are employees, carers, front line workers, volunteers and a key part of every community. The pandemic has had an incredible impact on many disabled people due to social isolation, certain services being unavailable and a lack of understanding.
“There’s currently 4.4 million disabled workers in the UK. We experience almost double the unemployment statistics compared to our non disabled peers (mostly due to prejudice or lack of reasonable adjustments).”
Meanwhile, Corrie producer Iain MacLeod said: “We had to think outside the box in order to tell this story, devising new protocols and ways of scripting scenes that would allow Cherylee to film the scenes herself in her home. It certainly helped that her partner Toby is a fabulous actor!
"Despite all the technical challenges we had to overcome, this was a story that needed telling and I hope it will resonate with millions of people who have found themselves in a similar position to Izzy - and perhaps open the eyes of millions of others who had little awareness of the issues facing disabled people during COVID.”
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