ITV soap Coronation Street is to feature its first lesbian character, according to reports.

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Webster, played by Brooke Vincent, is currently going out with Ben Richardson, played by Lucien Laviscount.

The News of the World reports that Sophie breaks off the relationship in order to start a lesbian “fling”.

A source told the newspaper: “The show’s bosses want to create a soap representative of society in 2009 and they are acutely aware that they need more gay characters and that they need to tackle more gay issues.”

Sophie recently surprised her parents, Sally and Kevin, by becoming a born-again Christian.

The source said that Granada bosses are considering the introduction of a new character as Sophie’s love interest.

Sophie’s Bible study group friend, Sian Powers, played by Sacha Parkinson, is reportedly in the running to co-star in the storyline.

Despite being the first lesbian character to be introduced to Corrie, it is not the first time a same-sex couple has been featured on the long-running show.

In 2003, the Independent Television Commission (ITC) received 21 complaints from viewers after a pre-watershed gay kiss was featured between Todd Grimshaw (Bruno Langley) and Nick Tilsley (Adam Rickett).

According to the BBC, the ITC said “A young man’s confusion with his sexuality, expressed in a clumsily and inexplicit manner, did not go beyond what has previously been seen in a drama at this time of the evening.”

This is not the first time the News of the World has reported that Corrie is set to gain a lesbian character.

Last July, the newspaper reported that popular barmaid Violet Wilson was to be the programme’s first lesbian.

A source at Granada said: “Violet was pinpointed as the one character they could take down that route. It does seem ridiculous it has never been explored on Corrie but that’s all about to change.”