Liver disease storyline on Coronation Street

Posted on: 28th December 2020

If you are a fan of Coronation Street, you will know that there is currently a storyline involving Peter Barlow, who has been battling an alcohol problem and today (28/12/20), he has been told that he may have liver failure.

The British Liver Trust, supported by the liver team at the Royal Free Hospital in London, worked closely with Coronation Street to ensure the storyline is as medically accurate as possible and best reflects the real-life experience of patients.

We recognise that many of our supporters will be disappointed that liver disease is once again portrayed as being associated with alcohol. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters had already decided on the overarching plot. However, we have had some input and hope that some other information relating to liver disease will be reflected as the storyline progresses.

Pamela Healy, Chief Executive at the British Liver Trust, said:

“This storyline puts a spotlight on the devastating impact that alcohol-related liver disease can have – both for those affected and sadly their loved ones too. Liver disease is now the third leading cause of premature death in the UK and we need to highlight this so that it gets the attention it deserves.

"However, it’s important to remember that although alcohol is the leading cause of liver disease, there thousands of people in the UK who have a liver condition unrelated to alcohol, including non-alcohol related fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which could soon overtake alcohol as the leading cause of liver disease.

"It’s also important to remember that although heavy drinkers like Peter Barlow develop liver disease, it’s not just ‘alcoholics’ who are at risk of liver disease. A large proportion of people who develop alcohol-related liver disease may not be drinking as much as Peter. In fact, one in five people in the UK currently drink at a level that may put their livers at risk.

“We would urge everyone in the UK to think seriously about the amount they are drinking. Try to drink within the recommended guidelines and importantly have two to three consecutive days off alcohol every week. By doing this you will give your liver a rest and allow it to recover before too much damage is done.”

With many more episodes of the story yet to come, the British Liver Trust will continue to use it as an opportunity to highlight the many causes of liver disease and reach out to patients and families affected across the UK.

The British Liver Trust is the UK’s largest liver charity leading the fight against liver disease and liver cancer.   If you would like to help, please donate today.  Even small donations can help us make a real difference to those people affected by a liver condition.