There have been rapes, murders, a devastating tram crash and kidnap but now Corrie bosses are plotting to pile on the misery by turning Sophie Webster into a junkie.
The troubled 17-year-old, played by Brooke Vincent, is set to become addicted to crack with scenes of her taking the Class A drug on screen likely to spark a major outcry.
It will be the ITV soap’s most controversial storyline in its 52-year history and insiders fear it will be a big turn-off for older viewers.
Senior stars are said to have already raised questions about the number of dramatic plotlines, with lurid stories that have seen 10 characters killed off since new executive producer Phil Collinson took over in 2010.
The decision to air the drugs scenes in the soap’s 7.30pm and 8.30pm slots is also bound to horrify some viewers with young children who are likely to be watching.
A show insider said: “This storyline would be one of the most shocking the soap has ever tackled, and there is a real fear among some of the crew that it could be too much for some of the more traditional viewers.
Screen kiss: Sophie with AmberITV
“For many people Coronation Street remains a national institution and long-term fans love the portrayal of working-class life in a northern town. Scenes such as these are likely to be far too edgy for many.
“As well as the older fans, families sit down to watch Corrie together with their children next to them and these scenes will air well before the 9pm watershed.”
Under the new proposals, Sophie, who was left heartbroken earlier this year when lesbian lover Sian Powers ditched her at the altar and left the street days later, will be introduced to crack by returning character Ryan Connor.
Viewers will remember him as the adopted son of barmaid Michelle Connor played by Kym Marsh.
Ryan (Ben Thompson) was last seen on the soap in 2010, when he dated Sian before quitting Wetherfield to head off to university in Scotland. Bosses are said to be eyeing up his return.
Wedding day: Sophie and SianITV
Sophie has been a major character in Coronation Street since her birth in 1994, alongside sister Rosie Webster, now played by Helen Flanagan, and parents Kevin (Michael Le Vell) and Sally (Sally Dynevor).
The insider added: “Ryan returns after spending two years in Glasgow, where he has picked up some alarming traits which he quickly passes on to Sophie.
“He comes back as a very dark character indeed and is set to have a damaging impact on several of the soap’s younger characters.”
Other dramatic plots in the soap recently included the tram crash which killed four people, factory boss Carla’s rape by Frank Foster and his violent death this week in Underworld.