Dozens of viewers have complained to the television regulator after an episode of Coronation Street, broadcast on Easter Sunday, featured a string of outbursts against Christianity.
The popular TV soap’s Easter special featured a series of outspoken attacks on the Christian faith by veteran character Ken Barlow.
Barlow, played by actor Bill Roach, accused Christian believers of targeting “vulnerable people”, and claimed his grandson Simon was being “indoctrinated” by Christianity at church and at his primary school.
“I went to his assembly at school last week,” he said, “and they had artwork on the wall depicting ‘the Creation’. He is being taught creationism.”
Barlow later told Simon that “Scientists, for instance, think that the universe began after a big explosion and that we don’t need religions and superstitions in our lives and that we don’t need God and heaven and hell”.
In another scene Barlow said he believed “even children should be told ‘the truth'”.
When a friend admitted to finding church “comforting” when faced with bereavement, Barlow responded: “Well of course it’s comforting; that’s how they get their hooks into you when you’re feeling vulnerable”.
Message boards on the ITV website have been inundated with comments from outraged viewers. The television regulator, Ofcom, has received dozens of complaints.
ITV responded through a spokesperson who said: “Coronation Street is a soap opera set in modern society and therefore represents views from all sides of the religious spectrum.
“At the moment we have a very positive story involving Sophie Webster and her new found interest in religion, Emily Bishop has also always been seen as a very positive representation of Christianity.
“Likewise Ken Barlow’s different views on religion have always been a strong aspect of his character”.
Last week it was reported that an imminent Coronation Street plotline will involve ‘born-again Christian’ character Sophie Webster embarking on a lesbian relationship with another girl, possibly from her Bible study group.