Coronation Street is to become the latest British soap opera to add a gay character, following EastEnders which is about to air a bisexual storyline. But fellow ITV drama Emmerdale will lose two gay characters.
The popular ITV drama will soon feature Michael Byrne playing Ted Paige, the long lost gay father to long suffering character Gail Platt.
The Sun reports that Ted was a young solider that Audrey Roberts dumped when she fell pregnant with daughter Gail aged 18. Ted will reappear in the summer.
A show source told the tabloid: “Audrey wanted to settle down with someone so she could claim back son Stephen who she had when she was 16.
“But the man she fancied wasn’t interested so Audrey went for his best friend, Ted.
“When she discovered she was pregnant by Ted, she fled as she knew he would propose – and she couldn’t spend the rest of her life with him.” At some point in the past, Ted, presumably came to terms with his sexuality as when he appears on screen he will be openly gay.
Fellow ITV soap, Emmerdale will, however, lose a gay couple. Christopher Villiers and Richard Grieve, who play gay villagers Grayson Sinclair and Jonny Foster, are to be axed, the newspaper also reported.
Villiers told the newspaper: “Grayson has been great to play. We’ve agreed the current storyline will provide an exciting exit. . . but this might not be the last we see of Gray.”
Grieve said: “While I have thoroughly enjoyed the role, I think the time is right to move on.”
Rival BBC soap opera EastEnders is to shortly air a bisexual storyline where Star Aaron Sidwell is believed to being written out of the hit television programme as his character Steven Beale comes to terms with his bisexuality.
The character returned to EastEnders last September after terrorising his step-father Ian, later shooting step mother Jane in the stomach.
His character, who has also been labelled as mentally ill, residing in a psychiatric hospital for a time will kiss both his female friend Stacey Slater and then his step-mother’s brother, Christian Clarke ,played by John Partridge, in a story line that develops over the coming weeks.
The introduction of an openly gay character, Christian has been welcomed by critics, the character seen as a realistic portrayal of a London based, slightly older gay man.