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Corrie Ken's remarks spark complaints

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Corrie Ken's remarks spark complaints
ITV and Ofcom have reportedly received a number of complaints over remarks about Christianity made by Ken Barlow during Coronation Street's Easter Sunday episode.

The Sunday evening edition of the soap, which attracted an audience of 5.4m, contained scenes in which Ken - portrayed by William Roache - played down the role of the church and Christianity in front of his family, including his grandson Simon (Alex Bain).

In the script, written by Mark Wadlow, Ken was seen telling his son Peter (Chris Gascoyne) that his attendance at church was "pure tokenism", which prompted Blanche (Maggie Jones) to interject, claiming that Simon needed some "spiritual sustenance" following the his recent ordeals.

Ken, however, responded that Simon should seek such strength "in his fellow man rather than recourse to a supernatural being", to which Blanche accused her son-in-law of being a "heathen".

As the Barlows readied themselves for the Easter service, Ken questioned why his son was "joining in with the charade", before challenging Peter as to why he was allowing his son to be "indoctrinated".

Despite Peter suggesting that Simon would be able to make his mind up when he was older, Ken held the belief that "it might be too late by then".

The episode in question did, however, feature scenes within an animal-filled church, in which worshippers - including the Webster family - sang the hymn 'Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven'.

On the Barlows' return home in the second half of the episode, Ken went on to criticise Simon's school for teaching him creationism, before justifying his standpoint, claiming that his grandson "should have another viewpoint to balance the teachings from the church".

However, while talking to Simon about The Big Bang Theory, the ex-school teacher was silenced when Simon questioned whether his late mother Lucy was actually in heaven.

Towards the end of the episode, Ken appeared in The Rovers with Gail's (Helen Worth) father Ted Page (Michael Byrne), where he spoke of Peter "spouting religious clich├ęs about angels and harps" and insisted that "even children should be told the truth".

During the scene, Ken questioned whether Ted was "one of them", meaning a Christian, spurring his intellectual friend to clarify that he found the church "comforting" after the loss of his partner. Ken, however, closed the conversation by saying: "Well of course it's comforting - that's how they get their hooks into you when you're feeling vulnerable."

A Weatherfield spokesman this evening told DS: "Coronation Street is a soap opera set in modern society and therefore represents views from all side of the religious spectrum.

"At the moment, we have a very positive story involving Sophie Webster and her new-found interest in religion, while Emily Bishop has also always been seen as a very positive representation of Christianity."

They added: "Likewise Ken Barlow's different views on religion have always been a strong aspect of his character."

Ironically, during the discussion about creationism in the first half of Sunday's episode, Blanche made a snide, off-the-cuff remark to Ken, asking whether he would prefer Simon to be taught lesbianism as opposed to creationism.

The remark follows last week's report that churchgoing student Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent) is to embark on a lesbian relationship with best friend Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson).

In January, Coronation Street execs came under fire after a vicar accused the soap of covering up a brass cross at his church's altar during filming for Molly (Vicky Binns) and Tyrone's (Alan Halsall) wedding for 'fear of causing offence'.

ITV later issued a statement denying that the cross was intentionally obstructed, instead claiming that the religious symbol was moved "so that it was not hidden". Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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