Coronation Street spoilers follow.
Coronation Street star Millie Gibson has spoken out about the fan reaction to her character Kelly Neelan after the recent tragedy in Weatherfield.
Kelly is currently at the centre of the ITV soap's biggest storyline, as she was one of the culprits who attacked Nina Lucas and Seb Franklin in a hate crime incident last week.
After the young couple were beaten up, Nina made a recovery in hospital but Seb sadly passed away.
Kelly has now been charged with murder, after her accomplice Corey Brent pinned all of the blame on her in his police statement. The extent of Kelly's involvement remains unclear to viewers, as the attack largely took place off screen.
Discussing the response to Kelly's crime, Millie told Digital Spy and other media: "It's been half and half. I think some people forget fiction and reality! But some people have been really kind, saying: 'I hate your guts that much, so you must be a good actress'.
"I think it's one of those situations. It was expected, so it's been alright."
Revealing how she felt about the tough storyline, Millie continued: "I was so moved to be a part of it and to be asked to make it with all of the other actors.
"Also, it's just heartbreaking to think that it's based on the Sophie Lancaster story. I was very familiar with that event, so it was surreal thinking that we were doing this, putting it together and doing it right. I was really honoured to be part of the storyline, especially with all of these amazing people.
"The reaction was expected because Kelly was tricky to like anyway. Even Toyah is struggling to like her at the minute, so I think you need to have good morals to stick with her! Through this storyline and how it's going to pan out, hopefully people feel a bit more remorseful for her."
Millie promised that viewers will see different sides to Kelly as the story continues over the coming weeks.
She said: "Kelly is quite a cocky character and she's trying to show off. She's a typical teenager, to be honest. But I think through this whole event, it has really changed her and damaged her, in a way.
"Kelly is never one to cry in front of others, show pain or any sort of innocence. That's not what she has been brought up to be like, because of how many times she's been knocked down. But in the aftermath of this story, she's not going to be cocky and will be more vulnerable."
In real life, Millie was introduced to Corrie in summer 2019 for an initial four-episode stint as Kelly, which formed part of the Rick Neelan death storyline. Show bosses later decided to sign her up on a permanent contract.
She said: "I'm honestly over the moon. It's been so nice to explore different layers of Kelly, because when she first came in, she was a troubled girl looking for her dad.
"It started to unfold that she had all of these other problems going on, and all of these other encounters with different characters that added to her personality and journey throughout Corrie. It's been amazing to explore Kelly.
"I never imagined this would happen but I'm over the moon. I just thought it was going to be a once-in-a-blue-moon experience, but I'm now part of this amazing family."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7.30pm on ITV.
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Anyone who has witnessed or experienced a hate crime is urged to call the police on 101, Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit the True Vision website. In an emergency, always dial 999.
Coronation Street has worked on the current storyline alongside The Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which was set up to challenge prejudices and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures, and extend UK hate crime legislation, following the murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007.
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