Coronation Street is to hold its first gay ‘wedding’ when male midwife Marcus Dent (Charlie Condou) returns to tie the knot in a civil partnership with former flame Sean Tully (Antony Cotton).

The Sun reports that the soap opera’s openly gay producer Phil Collinson considers that Cotton’s character will have one of the biggest roles in 2011 story lines.

The soap will see Sean Tully’s ex-lover return played by Charlie Condou. The programme also boasts a lesbian couple Sophie Webster (Brooke Vincent) and Sian Powers (Sacha Parkinson).

An insider told the tabloid: “Bringing back Charlie is seen as a big platform for him and in particular Antony who is well liked and admired by the boss. When Marcus turns up in Weatherfield in the spring he is desperate to rekindle his romance.

“But having hurt him once, Sean is apprehensive until Marcus offers him commitment, with the future storyline leading to Corrie’s first same sex marriage.”

Mr Collinson has in the past talked about using the soap opera he has produced to change the perceptions of homosexuality among viewers: “Coronation Street is an amazing platform. You can really make a difference to the way people think – and this show has always had a gay sensibility.”

The soap, created by gay writer Tony Warren celebrated its 50th anniversary earlier this year. Stars of the show also led the gay Pride parade in Manchester in August.