Hundreds of horrified parents have complained about a Coronation Street episode which showed a 10 year-old girl being smacked across the back of her legs.
The controversial scene showed builder Owen Armstrong slapping his girlfriend's 10-year-old adopted daughter Faye.
The Daily Mirror reports that viewers accused the soap of going too far.
Angry fans took to Twitter and internet forums to voice their outrage. Many have also complained to ITV and media regulator Ofcom about Monday night's episode.
One forum user said: "He was really laying into her, or that was the writers' intent."
One fan tweeted: "Very uncomfortable. Wrong on so many levels."
Another added: "Don't think it should have been shown. Not necessary in this life today. No need for it."
The controversial episode was part of a double header which was seen by more than 9.5 million viewers, making it Monday's most watched show.
Owen - played by Ian Puleston-Davies, 53 - smacked the girl after discovering she had deliberately poisoned his fishpond.
Since joining Corrie last January, Faye has proven to be something of a troublemaker. Officially adopted by character Anna Windass in November, she has repeatedly tried to destroy her new mum's romance with Owen.
And some viewers believed he was entitled to strike the disobedient child. One online follower said: "She's a brat!"
Actor Ian said scriptwriters had treated the storyline cautiously.
"From the moment it was suggested, they took it very carefully and slowly, so it took a long time to reach the script stage, and rightly so," he said.
"I'm happy with the finished result."
Britain is one of only five EU countries not to have introduced a ban on smacking children, although excessive force can result in an assault charge.
Phillip Noyes of the NSPCC said: "Parents can obviously be pushed to the limit on occasion but there are more positive ways of correcting a child's behaviour than smacking them.
"It simply sets a bad example and teaches children that violence is a solution. Children tell us it leaves them scared and confused and the NSPCC believes it simply gives out the wrong message and breaks down the trust between child and parent."
A Coronation Street spokeswoman said: "We most certainly don't condone Owen's actions - as will be seen by the ramifications of the slap, and the effect it has on his relationship."
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