Many fans of the show found the dark scenes difficult to watch

Coronation Street viewers watched in horror as Bethany Platt’s grooming storyline reached a harrowing climax with scenes that saw the 16-year-old raped by Nathan Curtis‘ sick friend.

For months, fans of the show have seen Bethany – played by Lucy Fallon – drawn into a web of sexual exploitation by businessman Nathan (Christopher Harper).

And on Friday night horrified viewers watched the teenager being manipulated into going on a date with Nathan’s mate, Neil Clifton, ending in her being led into the bedroom as her boyfriend watched on.

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Insisting that she’s ‘not that kind of girl’, Bethany pleaded with 32-year-old Nathan but her protests fell on deaf ears and the school-girl ended up sleeping with Neil to keep her boyfriend happy.

Recent episodes have seen Bethany and her mum, Sarah Platt, growing even further apart – to Nathan’s advantage.

Bethany is left crying on the bed after she’s forced to sleep with Neil [ITV]

Viewers saw Nathan set the wheels of Bethany’s attack set in motion as Nathan sent a sexy snap of the teenager – which she dubbed “for your eyes only” – to Neil.

As the latest episodes aired, fans of the show were quick to react and loads took to Twitter to share their upset, describing the scenes as ‘disturbing’ with some saying they left them feeling ‘physically sick’.

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The controversial storyline has hit the headlines over the past few weeks as some fans have called the scenes ‘too dark’ for pre-watershed.

However actress, Lucy has since hit back at the criticism insisting that it’s important to raise awareness around the disturbing issue of child abuse for a younger audience.

‘Quite a lot of people have said it shouldn’t be on at this time, it’s difficult to watch,’ the 21-year-old said during her recent appearance on Loose Women.

Adding: ‘We’re trying to target people who watch Corrie. There are a lot of fans who are young teenagers, it’s important that they watch it.’

Lucy opened up about playing distressed teenager, Bethany (Photo by Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

The star has also previously opened up about playing the part of the helpless teenager and admitted that her dad and boyfriend both can’t watch the show.

‘My mum still watches it but my dad doesn’t’, she told OK! magazine. ‘My boyfriend doesn’t watch it either, he finds it too uncomfortable’.

What do you think of the dramatic episode? Let us know @Celebsnow.