First regular gay character for Neighbours

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Neighbours has got its first gay regular gay character.

Recent Ramsay Street addition Chris Pappas, played by James Mason, came out in an episode earlier this month.

UK viewers will have to wait another couple of months to watch the storyline, which is currently being screened in Australia.

Neighbours, which is 25 years old, has had temporary gay characters before and has screened several lesbian kisses.

A lesbian kiss between Donna Freedman (Margot Robbie) and Sunny Lee (Hany Lee Choi) was screened last year after rival soap Home and Away had a similar storyline.

In an interview with Australian gay publication Same Same last week, Mason said that fans had asked for a gay character.

He said: “The main reason this storyline came about was because of such high demand in the online forums. The producers were pretty keen on giving the viewers what they want, and they noticed there was a high demand for a gay character to come on the show. So they took the opportunity to bring one in.

“They’ve pretty much done everything else in 25 years, so it was definitely time.”

He added that the storyline would be “pretty genuine” as it came from gay scriptwriters who had been through coming out.

Mason said: “There’s actually a couple of people associated with the script department who have gone through similar things themselves. So that’s been a really good thing in terms of the writing – it’s helped me out a lot and made the writing pretty genuine, because it’s come straight from the script writer’s experience.”