star Daniel Brocklebank has revealed that some viewers of the soap have complained about the show's gay romance scenes, comparing them to 'child abuse'.
Openly gay Brocklebank has played gay vicar Billy Mayhew on the long-running soap for the last three years. Billy is now in a relationship with Todd Grimshaw (played by Bruno Langley on and off since 2001), and the pair have just embarked on the show’s first gay family storyline as legal guardians of 12-year-old Summer.
has depicted numerous aspects of LGBT+ life over the years. It was the first British soap to introduce a transgender character: Hayley Cropper was played by Julie Hesmondhalgh for 16 years, and the show’s first gay kiss, between Adam Rickitt’s Nick Tilsley and Todd Grimshaw, played by Bruno Langley, was watched by 14m people.
In an interview for the September issue of Attitude
, Brocklebank divulges that he "wasn't prepared" for the media coverage that came with portraying part of a gay couple on television. "Billy and Todd had a kissing scene on a hotel bed about a year ago, and it prompted a huge amount of coverage online," he says. "People were messaging me saying that showing that on TV when kids were watching was child abuse.
"I thought, “So you’re comfortable with them watching the rapes, the murders, the drug deals, all of that. But two guys kissing is a step too far? My God, what kind of parenting are you adhering to?" If that scene caused children to ask their parents about why there were two men kissing, then that’s a great opportunity to educate them without having to broach a subject that they didn’t feel comfortable about."
Daniel also opens up about his own coming out, revealing that his parents were "horrified" when he first told them about his sexuality. "I grew up in the middle of a field in Warwickshire in very conservative, rural middle- England, and they weren’t expecting it," he says.
He goes on to say that his parents are "wonderful people" who have accepted his sexuality now, and blames the cultural climate of the past for the way that they viewed homosexuality. "My parents were of the generation that thought all gay men were paedophiles, for Christ’s sake," he says.
"When my folks met my first longterm partner, I remember my mum saying, “Oh, you’re just like us!” And I was like, “Well, what did you think we were going to be like?”
is on ITV1 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Check out the full interview in the September issue of Attitude – out now. Buy in print, subscribe or download.