Words: Will Stroude
The first black family to appear on Coronation Street are set to be at the centre of a new storyline addressing homophobia in sport when they arrive on the cobbles later this year.
Soap bosses announced the impending arrival of the Bailey family on Saturday (6 April), in what (sadly) marks a historic first for the long-running ITV series, which had previously failed to portray a black family in its 59-year history.
With dad Edison (Trevor Michael Georges) mum Aggie (Lorna Laidlaw) and eldest son Michael (Ryan Russell) set to appear on screen from June, the Baileys will also be giving a bump to Weatherfield's LGBT population in the form of youngest son and amateur footballer James (Nathan Graham), who is yet to come out to his family or teammates.
Speaking to DigitalSpy, Corrie producer Iain MacLeod explained that James won't follow the trope of a young person struggling to come to terms with their sexuality: Instead, the storyline will revolve around pressures on LGBT people in sport.
"We wanted to look at homophobia in sport, and homophobia in football so that will be a component of the story but also we wanted to look at a modern story about a young gay man," MacLeod said.
"So, it won’t be your normal coming out story where we see James wrestling with his sexuality. We’re quite keen that he knows who he is but has some apprehensiveness about telling his parents, and some apprehensiveness about his teammates finding out.
"When we meet the character he’s on the cusp of bigger things football-wise, and is also aware that despite the progress that we’ve made as a society, in lots of areas, homophobia on the terraces is fairly rampant. He’s scared about the reaction.
"But not because he's worried that his family will reject him. It’s more about the football. It’s a big moment for anybody to sit your family down and tell them.
"We wanted to make this a very modern coming out story rather than the ones we've seen."
Coronation Street airs on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 7.30pm and 8.30pm on ITV.