Much consternation in the world of UK soaps today as former cast members claim one of the longest running shows on British telly has gone too gay!
Coronation Street has been praised by gay rights groups for the inclusion of multiple storylines involving gay couples, but former actors on the soap have branded the move as “unrealistic” and “excessive”.
Currently two gay couples, Sean Tully and Marcus Dent, and Sophie Webster and Sian Powers, live on the street, while a third couple Todd Grimshaw and boyfriend Jools could soon be set to become permanent residents in Weatherfield according to insiders.
Ben Summerskill of Stonewall praised the ITV soap for its involvement of gay characters: “When it comes to reflecting modern Britain, the Street really is streets ahead,” he said.
But former star Jean Alexander, 85, who played Hilda Ogden, claims the inclusion of three gay couples is too much. “Every community has people who are gay and they are very nice people. I’m not running the Street down, and let’s not forget its creator Tony Warren is gay,” she told the News of the World. “But three couples seems excessive.”
Nick Cochran who played Andy McDonald added: “I’m not sure these storylines are realistic. I’ve got plenty of gay friends but they don’t all live in a street full of gay people.
“How many streets in Britain would have schoolgirl lesbians, gay married couples, a transsexual and children to gay couples? It is a little bit far-fetched.
“Fans love Corrie for its traditional values. I don’t think it’s the right platform to highlight so many gay issues all at the same time.
A source for the show told the News of the World “many cast and crew think the storylines unrealistic.”
But Summerskill, however, told the newspaper: “About six per cent of the population is gay – and more in and around cities. So of 66 Corrie characters it’s not in the least inconceivable that more than four might be gay. After all, Weatherfield is a tram ride from Manchester’s large gay village.
“Corrie picked up Stonewall’s Broadcast of the Year trophy because it’s streets ahead with its gay characters, depicted with the same wit, warmth and drama as all of Weatherfield’s cherished faces.”
“I’m shocked and more than a little upset by tone of what seems to be seeping out about this story” Commentated Jason Shaw, A gay rights campaigner, writer and broadcaster. “Yes, there has been an increased level of gay and gay themed storylines recently, but showing the battle on screen of what it’s like to be accepted, even by and especially of family after you come out as a lesbian. has been such a triumph for the show”
“To hear it being attacked and disparaged in such a way by former cast members is so disappointing, but also shows how far we have yet to go to gain acceptance and equality”