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Samia Smith explains "dramatic" plot

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Maria Connor from Coronation Street

© ITV

Coronation Street actress Samia Smith has spoken about filming an upcoming sex attack on her character Maria Connor.

The plot will see Maria attempting to close an Underworld deal with Frank Foster (Andrew Lancel) by visiting his house. However, the dark scenes will then see her attacked by the businessman.

"It's all been very dramatic. It was pretty tough and there have been plenty of tears. Maria's a tough cookie though," Smith told The Mirror. "She'll be fine. Her little boy Liam is alright, she's got a new boyfriend and I am sure it will make her stronger.

"The way the director shot it is quite graphic. Even the crew were flinching a bit because they didn't like to see me being treated like that. I had to fight Andrew off - and he's quite strong is Andrew! He's so lovely though and it was tough for him, too."

She continued: "It was the first day we had actually worked together and I'd only met him briefly before. Then the second scene we filmed was Frank trying to sexually assault Maria."

Explaining how the attack comes about, the actress went on to reveal that Maria will be left unsure if she should tell her sister-in-law Carla or new boyfriend Chris Gray.

"Maria is in a Catch-22 situation and everything is resting on her clinching the deal," she said. "She goes to his house but doesn't tell Chris her boyfriend she's going alone without Carla, and then Foster assaults her when she won't 'be nice' to him.

"The next day at Underworld she doesn't know whether to tell Carla what happened because she doesn't want to risk the deal but she also wants him to get his comeuppance. She can't tell Chris because she doesn't want him to think badly of her because she went round all dressed up knowing full well she was meant to charm him... so will he say she was asking for it?"

However, Smith added that playing a rape victim in a previous role meant that she could draw from research she had already completed.

"That still happens so much when girls are raped or sexually attacked and they are too scared to go to the police because they think that by dressing in a certain way that's what will be said," she added. "But no girl is ever asking for it. There are still lots of girls scared to report these things so it would be good if there could be a helpline up at the end of the episode. I hope I do justice to real victims.

"When I was 17, I was in Heartbeat and my character got raped. It was really hard-hitting. Before that I'd watched a lot of documentaries about rape victims, so I could draw on that again."

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