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Coronation Street adds black gay footballer

Nick Duffy April 5, 2019
James Bailey, played by Nathan Graham

James Bailey, played by Nathan Graham (Coronation Street/ITV)

A new gay character is joining Coronation Street.

Show bosses announced on April 6 that a new family, the Baileys, are coming to the ITV soap.

19-year-old teen footballer James Bailey, played by Nathan Graham, is set to join the soap as his family move to Weatherfield.

When he joins the show, the character will be keeping his sexuality secret from his family and his football teammates, though nothing on Corrie stays secret for long.

Coronation Street star Nathan Graham ‘excited to explore’ gay storyline

Nathan Graham, who has previously appeared in West End shows Dreamgirls and Miss Saigon, said: “I’m so grateful for this opportunity to join Coronation Street and be a part of this show.

“I’m thrilled to be a member of the Bailey family and excited to explore the difficulties James may face along the way.”

Rounding out the rest of the Bailey family is James’s builder father Edison (Trevor Michael Georges), pharmacy assistant mum Aggie (Lorna Laidlaw), and constantly-scheming brother Michael (Ryan Russell).

New Coronation Street characters James (Nathan Graham), Edison (Trevor Michael Georges), Aggie (Lorna Laidlaw) and Michael (Ryan Russell)
New Coronation Street characters James (Nathan Graham), Edison (Trevor Michael Georges), Aggie (Lorna Laidlaw) and Michael (Ryan Russell) (ITV)

Producer Iain MacLeod said: “I am really excited to introduce this new family – the audience is going to love them! They’re funny, warm and will pull together through thick and thin as we play out the stories we’ve got lined up for them.”

“Parents Edison and Aggie are soulmates who, underneath the banter, will stick up for each other and defend their boys when the going gets tough. Eldest son Michael is an exuberant, loveable dreamer with a huge heart and is the glue that holds the family together. James is Michael’s younger brother and best mate, who is a sensitive lad with a secret that he fears will throw his family into turmoil and impact on his career.”

“The four actors we’ve cast are all individually brilliant but together they have a truly incredible chemistry. I can’t wait for them to hit the screen!”

Coronation Street recently said goodbye to a lesbian fan favourite

The announcement comes weeks after the show faced a Twitter backlash for killing off lesbian character Rana Habeeb (Bhavna Limbachia).

Some fans claimed the soap was playing into the “Bury Your Gays” trope by giving the character an unhappy ending.

However, Limbachia said she had asked for the character to be killed when she decided to leave.

She said: “It was my decision and my choice for Rana to die because it was the only fitting end to the character.

“[Fianceé] Kate and Rana had fought so hard to be together and they had been through thick and thin together.”

“I felt that if they were to be separated, they had to be torn apart and it couldn’t have been their decision. The only way to go was if Rana were to die. Rana would never leave Kate, ever.”

More: Coronation Street, football, LGBT, Soap, Television

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