ITV soap Coronation Street will see an explicit homophobic storyline this autumn for its 50th anniversary.
The plot will reportedly use offensive anti-gay language, with gays and lesbians branded “degenerates” and “unnatural” by one character.
According to the Sunday People, Corrie producers expect an angry reaction to the scenes from some viewers but are keen to show the reality of homophobia.
The plot will see Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roache, meet his long-lost son Lawrence, who will be played by Roache’s real-life son Linus.
Roache’s other real-life son, James, will play Lawrence’s son of the same name.
However, Ken’s hopes of a happy family reunion are dashed when he realises that James is gay but Lawrence is virulently homophobic.
A source told the newspaper: “Lawrence hates gays and Ken is disgusted by his attitude. These scenes are explosive, raw and hard-hitting. Viewers, whether they like the language or not, will be gripped.
“The storyline airs in September, the month Corrie takes over as the world’s current longest-running TV serial drama, and at the heart of the plot is Ken, the [show]’s only original character, and a dark family secret.”
Another Coronation Street insider said: “Lawrence is a complete bigot and the language he uses will leave some viewers furious.
“The scenes will pull no punches in expressing some people’s hatred towards gay people and what they stand for. We are expecting viewers to have strong feelings about the dialogue and to air their objections vehemently.”
Gay charity Stonewall praised the soap for tackling the issue but urged producers to treat it sensitively.
Campaigner Peter Tatchell said: “There is nothing wrong with showing parents who don’t accept their gay children as long as other characters reflect the more tolerant strands of public opinion.”