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EastEnders star took inspiration from Kellie Maloney for surprise cross-dressing storyline

Joe Williams October 20, 2015

Roger Sloman has revealed how he was inspired by the boxing promoter for his new storyline in which his character dresses as a woman.

During last night’s emotionally charged episode, fans were stunned when it was finally revealed that his character Les Coker has a female alter ego called Christine.

Speaking for the first about his character’s second life now that it’s out in the open, Sloman has told how he used former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney’s autobiography on transitioning as inspiration.

“I got Kellie Maloney’s book to read during all this and it was interesting what she went through,” he told The Sun.

“He’s transgender, which Les is not but what struck me, and helped me with Les, is the turmoil that he went through.

“To feel like you are living a lie, keeping all those secrets and then to break it to your family, wow,” he added.

“It was actually heartbreaking to read how he dealt with that, it was the secrecy part of his life and the fact that he had to redefine his role in the family, as the husband and father to something else.”

The actor also said that he hopes EastEnders can help its millions of viewers to understand the issue more.

“I think that’s really been quite a driving factor in us exploring this storyline,” he told Digital Spy.

“It’d be fantastic if even one or two people start to feel a bit more tolerant to the idea.”

“We’re in a situation now where gay rights have come a long way in the last 30 years and that’s great, but there are other areas where people have still got a prejudice.

“Nobody gets particularly hurt by men wearing women’s clothes, so if people can be a bit more understanding, I think that’s great.”

Earlier this month, EastEnders revealed they had cast 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.

More: BBC, Cross-dressing, EastEnders, kellie maloney, les coker, LGBT

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