Corrie’s gay vicar Daniel Brocklebank reveals suffering anti-gay abuse
Daniel Brocklebank, who plays gay vicar Billy Mayhew on Coronation Street has revealed that he struggles to deal with anti-gay abuse.
The actor has said he is very pleased that the show continues to reflect LGBT life, but that he receives abuse on social media aimed at him and for his character.
He also predicts that the abuse will worsen when a new storyline sees Mayhew and boyfriend Todd Grimshaw, played by Bruno Langley, raise a child together.
Speaking to the Mirror, Brocklebank says: “Because I’ve been out professionally since I was 18, I’ve been aware that I was overlooked for roles because producers knew I was gay, and I’ve had to put up with homophobic abuse on social media.
“People forget that you are a person, who still goes home to their family every night. I think they expect you to be thick-skinned.
“What they don’t see is when you shut the front door after a barrage of abuse and have to try to shake it off.”
He says he received a “backlash” after a scene last year showed the two characters in a hotel room together, and that he doubted himself over whether the scene was suitable for families.
“I have goddaughters aged seven and 12 and I phoned their mum and said, ‘Do you think we showed anything your kids shouldn’t have been watching?’ She said, ‘What do you mean? No. Why?’ And I thought, thank God.,” he adds.
The 37-year-old also reflected on growing up rurally in the Midlands on a farm, and coming out at 15.
“When I was growing up, the legal age of consent was still 21 and it was illegal for teachers to discuss homosexuality in schools,” he says. “I lived in a rural area, there was no internet and there were no gay role models on TV.
“It was the 1980s – all you read was gays were spreading Aids and gays were paedophiles. It was hideous.”
But he adds that he hopes LGBT young people now have “less internal scarring” than his generation because of shows like Corrie.
“When I was 14 I thought I was maybe the only person in the world who was gay. And it would’ve helped massively to know I wasn’t,” he adds.
A previous storyline saw Drew ask Billy to adopt his daughter, Summer Spellman after he discovers he is terminally ill, but Drew’s mother Geraldine took the girl away from Billy.
“As long as a kid is loved, what does it matter if they have two dads rather than a mum and a dad?” Brocklebank adds.
“There are plenty of kids brought up in single-parent households.”
He went on to say the show needs to “move with the times”.
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The actor adds: “I feel proud of the adoption storyline and proud to represent my community. Last year at Euston station a woman burst into tears and threw her arms around me and said, ‘Thank you, you’ve helped my son so much’.
“I thought, my God, if I’ve helped just one person then it’s all worth it. Growing up I didn’t have any of that, so it makes me proud that I can make a difference.”
The actor last year admitted that he “hated myself for being gay” and that he struggled to come to terms with his sexual orientation.