List of Coronation Street characters (2016)

Marta Zarek, played by Edyta Budnik, made her first on-screen appearance on 5 February 2016. The character and casting was announced on 29 January 2016. Marta is introduced as part of a modern slavery storyline. Mark Jefferies of the ''Daily Mirror'' reported that producers consulted experts to ensure the storyline would be accurate. A spokesperson commented, "Obviously, ''Coronation Street'' tries to tackle difficult subjects and has done storylines about serious illnesses and violence before. But this is the first time slavery has appeared."

Aidan Connor (Shayne Ward) and Eva go to a party at the O'Driscolls and drive there in the Underworld van. Marta hides in the back of the vehicle, which takes her to Weatherfield. Once there, she makes her home in the factory, hoping to make herself inconspicuous, but desperation causes her to steal from the staff's belongings and make them believe that there is a thief among them. Eva Price (Catherine Tyldesley) finds and takes pity on her, and starts bringing her food. Marta tells her about how she has been forced into slavery, and that her family in Poland are being threatened by her slavers, later revealed to be Richie (James Midgley) and Julia O'Driscoll (Malgorzata Klara), Underworld's new clients. She is almost found by Kirk Sutherland, whose claims of noises from the back of the factory were being ignored by everyone. Before she can be found, she flees through the assembled group wearing Sean Tully's (Antony Cotton) new coat and pushing over Izzy Armstrong (Cherylee Houston) in her escape.

Marta disappears into the streets, but comes back after several weeks because she is ill and needs help. She is given shelter at 18a Victoria Street but refuses medical attention and attempts to flee again. Billy Mayhew (Daniel Brocklebank) helps Eva stop her from leaving, and Marta tells them her full story and the identity of her persecutors. Eva vows to help the girl retrieve her passport from the O'Driscolls. Eva goes to a dinner party at the O'Driscolls with Aidan to look for it, but she is caught and sacked after the O'Driscolls claim that the girl had stolen from them and been fired. Marta leaves St. Mary's Rectory, and steals £20 from Billy and his mobile phone. Using the tracker app installed on the phone, Billy and Eva find Marta and demand answers. Billy takes her back to the O'Driscolls where Julia greets her and takes her inside, leaving him outside. A few days later, Billy and Eva check on Marta and are told that she had gone home but as they are leaving, Eva believes she sees Marta through an upstairs window. Aidan's suspicions are raised when he sees Julia padlocking a bedroom door during a visit. Billy and Eva try to rescue Marta when the O'Driscolls are at a trade fair, breaking into the house, and find Marta locked in the bedroom. They are caught when the O'Driscolls return early. Richie assaults Billy and Eva, but they are rescued by Aidan who had followed them there. The police are called, and the O'Driscolls are prosecuted for offences under section 1 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. A few days later, a happy and smartened-up Marta is brought into the Rovers by Aidan to say goodbye and "thank you" to Eva before she returns home to her family. Provided by Wikipedia

by Franklin, Seb
Published 2015
MIT Press