Coronation Street's suicide plot sparked 'awful' flashbacks for cast and crew still mourning the death of much-loved prop man

Hugely-popular props man Mike Curtis took his own life in 2015 at the age of just 32 – leaving everyone in a state of shock.

His suicide was made worse as it happened just days after the shock sudden death of veteran actress Anne Kirkbride – the soap’s Deirdre Barlow.

Insiders said those weeks and months were “a terrible time” for all those involved on the show.

And when they learned that producer Kate Oates was planning to screen a major male suicide plotline involving privately disturbed Aidan Connor (Shayne Ward) to boost ratings, some said it brought all of the late Mike’s memories flooding back.

The former props man is “always in the thoughts of cast and crew” according to one established production worker.

So much so that his Just Giving page is still active with actor Connor McIntyre, who plays mad evil killer Pat Phelan, donating £1000 to his memory only last month.

The production source said : “When the scripts came out about the suicide death of Aidan Connor you could say there was a bit of an eerie feel about the place.

“The word was that the producer wanted to tackle the important issue of the problem of suicides in young males – which in normal circumstances is fair enough.

“But the loss of Mike Curtis is still pretty raw for a lot of people so dealing with this particular storyline was a bit emotional to say the least.

“They did say that if anyone wanted some help or counselling to deal with it then that could be an option but no-one took up the offer and just got on with it.

“Mike’s presence will always be there for us and his bubbly personality will never be forgotten.”

Corrie fans will see Aidan’s dad Johnny find his body next week in heartbreaking scenes.

Mike worked behind the scenes for more than 10 years and was close to many of the cast as well as his workmates.

At the time the show said : “He was always laughing and joking.

"His death has left everyone stunned. Behind the scenes it’s a tough a time as anyone can remember.”

Just four months later the mourning crew and cast decided to support charity CALM in memory of Mike.

A number of actors ran the Manchester 10k in aid of the charity – a free confidential helpline and webchat service dedicated to preventing male suicide.

Colleagues and friends also promoted the charity on social media – resulting in support from TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Olympic champ Jessica Ennis-Hill, among others.

In a joint statement, Coronation Street crew members Matt Hilton, Lisa Spencer and Alan Newton said: “CALM has had an enormous impact on everybody at Coronation Street.

“Both cast and crew, wanted to pay tribute to Mike by running 10K in Manchester.

Many taking part have never even run before so it really is testament to Mike and to how much he is loved and missed!”

CALM chief executive, Jane Powell, added: “It feels as if we are finally making headway on this issue and at the very least ensure that everyone knows that suicide is the single biggest killer of men in the UK, and has an idea of where to turn for help.”


If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans on (free) 116123 or 020 7734 2800.


 

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