Coronation Street wins PinkNews Ally Award for ‘decades’ of LGBT representation

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

ITV soap Coronation Street has picked up a special award at tonight’s PinkNews Awards.

The soap, which has been running since 1960, has featured a number of LGBT storylines over the years.

Most recent LGBT characters on the soap include Billy Mayhew, a gay vicar played by Daniel Brocklebank, and Sean Tully, played by Antony Cotton.

When picking up the award, Brocklebank honoured the “wonderful” Tony Warren for his efforts.

“Thank you so much for this award. It is in honour of the wonderful late Tony Warren, who without, we wouldn’t be here today,” said the actor.

“We are sure that Tony would be proud of the LGBT stories we are still sharing in the show.”

Long-running sci-fi show Doctor Who also picked up an award.

PinkNews CEO Benjamin Cohen said: “We have decided to give two further PinkNews Ally Awards, to two television programmes who have gone out of their way to include LGBT characters.

“What is interesting is that both of them first broadcast when it was illegal to be gay.

“Coronation Street, created by the late Tony Warren in 1960, who said, ‘I don’t think it could have been created by a straight man, who would have seen the innate glamour in a back street in an industrial town. Because gays had been shut in the corner for so long, we found the oddest entertainment in the oddest places’.

“From early portrayals of gay couples to the first trans soap character, it has been a trail blazer for LGBT+ representation.”

Corrie star Daniel Brocklebank previously revealed that he struggles to deal with anti-gay abuse.

“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.

Coronation Street

“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”.

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’.

Coronation Street

“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.

The PinkNews Awards is generously supported by Lloyds Banking Group

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