Hollyoaks under fire for male rape plot.
The Channel 4 teatime series is to tackle the issue in a one-off late-night episode.
But last night the show's producers were under fire for the controversial storyline.
The violent sexual assault on Luke Morgan, played by Gary Lucy, comes after months of bullying at the hands of a gang leader.
National Viewers and Listeners Association director John Beyer said: "This is a most inappropriate storyline for a programme of this kind, which is watched by young people, and any idea that just because it is being shown at 11pm makes it right is just nonsense."
Church of Scotland Board of Social Responsibility convener Ann Allen said: "Rape is a dreadful and traumatic experience, but this is simply trivialising it."
It is the first time male rape has been addressed in a British soap.
The Chester-based series is aimed at teenagers but attracts younger viewers.
Family and Youth Concern said the soap was turning "human pain into entertainment".
Producer Phil Redmond admitted the plot was a bid to increase ratings but said: "In my experience, the more challenging the subject, the more viewers appreciate it."
A spokesperson for the Independent Television Commission said it would see how the issue is treated before it decides on any action against Mersey TV.
The one-off episode will go out on Wednesday, March 15.