Viewers of Coronation Street have voiced their disgust at a scene showing the resident vicar taking heroin in church.
The character, Billy Mayhew, has been battling an addiction to painkillers. However, he fell to new lows after his drug dealer brother Lee sold him heroin.
The pair ‘shot up’ in church, and as they were slumped against the pews Lee said: “This must be what heaven feels like.”
Ofcom received 82 complaints from viewers over the “disgusting” and “inappropriate” scene, and may launch an investigation.
Fans branded writers ‘irresponsible’ for showing the vicar – who is gay – high on heroin before the watershed. Many expressed their anger on social media.
One user said she was “absolutely appalled” by the scene, adding it was “disgraceful and disturbing”, and that it was the last time she would watch the show.
Another tweeted: “Genuinely disgusted @itvcorrie showing heroin taking in a church pre-watershed, with one of the characters saying it’s ‘like heaven’ #toofar”.
Revd Jules Gomes, pastor of St Augustine’s in Douglas, Isle of Man, said: “It is not only shocking, it is patently absurd. I understand it is fiction but even fiction is based on reality.”
He added, “to even remotely suggest a vicar is in a church and getting high on heroin is simply too far-fetched”.
An ITV statement said that it had dealt with the issue in a responsible way, and that further episodes would show the negative side of Billy’s drug taking.
However, the following episode opened with the vicar blaspheming, before going on to take more heroin and becoming aggressive towards his adopted daughter while high.