EastEnders gets the UK’s first trans soap character played by a trans actor
EastEnders has revealed the first transgender character to be played by a trans actor in a British soap.
The character Kyle, will be played by 21-year-old Riley-Carter Millington.
The BBC announced that it planned to introduce a trans character into EastEnders earlier this year.
Now, BuzzFeed News reveals that Millington has been announced to play the character.
Speaking to the site, executive producer Dominic Treadwell-Collins, said the character will be “thrown into one of the biggest stories for the end of the year”.
He told BuzzFeed that they intend the character to be a “fresh and relatable” role which “comes with his own stock of secrets”.
Millington commented on the casting, saying: “I am extremely excited to be joining EastEnders. I can honestly say that I have now fulfilled my two biggest dreams – to be living my life as a man and to be an actor.
“I cannot wait to really get stuck in with filming and I look forward to seeing what is in store for my character.”
Workshops were held this year, which were guided by trans people, and which formed the character in its early stages.
Speaking earlier this year, Treadwell-Collins said: “The power of EastEnders is to change the world – so you change it gently. I am intending to introduce a trans character.
“We try and do all our research because we want to tell it properly.”
“I would want to cast a trans actor as well. You have to – you have to cast a trans actor, but you also don’t want to mess up the story because EastEnders reaches so many people and a lot of our audience are quite traditional.”
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Treadwell-Collins added: “We have to be very, very careful about what we say. With EastEnders you’re preaching to a lot of people who don’t want to hear about LBGT issues.”
Coronation Street introduced trans character Hayley Cropper in 1998, but she was played by cisgender actress Julie Hesmondhalgh.
Hesmondhalgh’s portrayal of Hayley – including her trip to get gender-reassignment surgery, and her frustration that she had insufficient legal status as a transgender person and so initially couldn’t marry Roy – also helped catalyse a national debate that led to the 2004 Gender Recognition Act, a law that granted transgender people full legal status.
The BBC’s first transgender-focussed sitcom, Boy Meets Girl, was released earlier this year.
The show was first commissioned last year, following a talent search aiming to develop a show focussed on the trans community.