|Portrayed by||Gary Lucy|
|First appearance||June 1999|
|Last appearance||26 August 2002|
Lucas "Luke" Morgan is a fictional character from long-running Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, played by Gary Lucy. He played the part between 1999 and 2001 before a brief return in 2002. He was introduced as part of the Morgan family alongside sisters Beth and Zara, brother Adam and parents Andy and Sue. While at Hollyoaks, Lucy was part of a controversial male rape storyline which was the first time it had been tackled in a British soap.
Luke was bullied by Mark Gibbs and his friends for a while due to a football team rivalry. When Luke finally stood up to him Mark was incensed and he and his friends beat Luke up badly. When Luke tried to fight back Mark lost control and raped Luke to belittle and devastate him. Hollyoaks creator Phil Redmond defended criticism and said the storyline "aimed to tackle one of the last great social taboos responsibly". In the lead up to the attack producers worked closely with rape-related support groups to help make the storyline as realistic as possible. On the storyline Lucy said "When they first told me about the storyline I was dubious as to whether or not I should take it. Firstly because I was so young and secondly it hadn't been touched before so no-one knew how the public and press would take it. After thinking about it and doing research behind it I thought it was definitely a subject worth approaching. So we did it and reaped the rewards. I feel very lucky." On why she wanted to tackle the subject series producer Jo Hallows said "The message is about banishing taboos - telling people it's OK to talk and there are people who can help. If this episode helps one person it will have been a worthwhile exercise." Keith Greenaway, coordinator of Central Birmingham Victim Support welcomed the decision saying "we can show victims it is not something to be ashamed of and it wasn't their fault".
Eighteen-year-old Luke moves into Hollyoaks and becomes friends with Darren Osborne and boyfriend to Mandy Richardson. He plays football, is bullied by Mark Gibbs and his friends for a while due to a tackle by Luke which ends Mark's chances of a professional footballing career. In the late-night spin-off Hollyoaks: Breaking Boundaries Luke finally stands up to him after months of bullying. Mark was incensed and he and his friends beat Luke up badly. When Luke tries to fight back Mark loses control and rapes Luke in an effort to torment and destroy him. His relationship with Mandy ended soon after because he can't tell anyone about his ordeal, and she thinks his reluctance to be intimate with her means he is cheating on her. Luke's best mate Darren then makes a move on Mandy and she quickly reciprocates knowing it will upset Luke. Luke realises he is still in love with her but is too ashamed to tell her the truth. When he tries to tell her what has happened she rebuffs him and is deliberately mean in an attempt to punish him for their break up, refusing to listen as he tries to tell her what really has happened and that he needs help.
Luke enters a deep depression and attempts suicide two months after he is raped. His brother Adam encourages him to talk about his problems and Luke finally tells him and his parents about the rape. His mother, brother and soon Mandy are supportive, but his father doubts his story which causes ructions in the Morgan house. Darren is spiteful to Luke and claims Luke is gay and fabricating the rape. Angry at Darren, Mandy finishes her relationship with him. Mandy feels especially guilty about her treatment of Luke and offers Luke her support.
Luke's Mum finds it hard to deal with what has happened to him and she resorts to medication to help cope. Luke realises he has to tell the police that Mark has raped him because Mark continues to intimidate him after realising that Luke has told people. After a scary encounter with Mark, Luke finally tells the police and they charge Mark and his two friends with rape and assault.
Luke's Dad tries to persuade Luke not to go to trial as he thinks Luke would lose and that the family name would be dragged through the mud. Mark harassed Luke to drop the case and makes out that no one will believe him, but eventually the case goes to court and Luke wins. Mark is sentenced to 8 years in prison and his two accomplices were each sentenced to 3 years. Luke refuses to speak to his father for a while and even sold his rape story to a newspaper to humiliate his Dad but they eventually reconciled. However Luke still feels let down by his divorcing parents' inability to communicate across the family about the rape and he moves out into a flat he rents with the newspaper payment of £20,000. A few months later Luke hopes to get back together with Mandy. She however does not want to as she can see he is still damaged. Instead she dallies with him and starts dating his new friend Ben behind his back. When Luke discovers this he is furious at the couple's deceit and disowns them. A short time later they become friends again and Mandy and Ben eventually separate. Quick to move on and be 'normal' again Luke starts a relationship with new girl Laura. Unfortunately for Luke, Laura is unhinged. She is unreliable and Luke feels she is using him. Both Luke and Laura are happy to see their relationship fail. Unbeknownst to him, Laura is slowly fixating on Mandy and in time to come is seen stalking Mandy in a Single White Female scenario.
A year later, at a party Luke is teased by professional footballer Scott Anderson about the rape. Scott and his friends chase Luke and when they catch him pretend to rape him. Luke is severely traumatized by this unprovoked attack and although he escaped relatively unharmed he later breaks down in front of Adam and confesses that he will never be able to get over what Mark had done to him. He tells Adam he believes he has to leave Chester in order to rebuild his life.
He is ready to leave for a new life in Canada as a school football coach, but his plans are interrupted when at the last minute his younger sister Beth confesses she had been raped by Scott on the night of the party. Luke is utterly devastated at this revelation and feels Beth was raped by Scott to get at him. He makes a decision to stay in Hollyoaks so he could be there for Beth but she insists she could cope and tells him to leave so he can get over his own rape and move on with his life. Luke realises she was right and that he wouldn't be able to cope with the trauma of another rape ordeal so close to his. Luke then left and Beth waits until he was in Canada before she tells her family about Scott.
Scott is charged with raping Beth but he was sensationally acquitted at trial. Beth is tormented by the acquittal and sometime later in a moment of madness hits Scott with her car. She is charged with the offense and at her trial Scott, whilst giving evidence drops his guard and admits that he did rape her. However Beth is still sentenced to jail for a short time which damages her further.
Luke returns briefly, for his parents' second wedding. He and Mandy have a quick and passionate fling when they realise they still have feelings for one another. However, Mandy is going out with Luke's brother Adam and Luke wants to return to Canada so they agree to part and he goes back alone.
For his portrayal of Luke, Lucy was awarded "Best Newcomer" at the 2000 British Soap Awards. The trial was nominated for "Most Dramatic Storyline" at the 2001 Inside Soap Awards. A BBC columnist included Luke's rape storyline in their article about controversial issues portrayed through soap opera. Daily Record praised the storyline saying Lucy's was "great at portraying Luke's harrowing ordeal". The story even attracted the attention of Coronation Street actress Julie Goodyear who opined that it "was portrayed with the right amount of sensitivity".
A writer from MSN described his rape storyline as "groundbreaking" material. But the storyline received criticism from Watchdog and some churches. A reporter from Virgin Media branded it "devastating and frightening" and placed it on their "soap's scariest storylines" list. Gareth McLean of the Radio Times listed the male rape plot amongst "the top five soap scandals - ever" and added that "with fewer than one in ten male rapes reported, the storyline was praised for raising awareness, but also criticised for doing so in a soap aimed at teenagers". In addition a BBC reporter noted that Lucy's portrayal garnered praise from a performance which "showed him retreating from the situation and eventually attempting suicide" and adjusting to life after the trial. Elizabeth Joyce of the Shropshire Star said that Luke was a "genuinely memorable" and "decent character", who still holds "a place in the heart of many a late-twentysomething".
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